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Wednesday, May 6, 2009 — The first case of H1N1 flu virus has been confirmed in the Cook County Jail. A 35-year-old Chicago man tested positive on Wednesday, May 6. He entered the jail on May 2 on a charge of possession of a controlled substance and was ordered held in Division 5, a medium-security facility. On May 3, he began showing flu-like symptoms and was immediately moved to an isolation unit at Cermak Hospital. His tier at Division 5 was quarantined until test results could be confirmed.

For those working in Division 5, that has meant moving on that tier only with a surgical mask. For those living on the tier that has meant limited movement – only for emergency situations – and only with a surgical mask on. But no one else on that tier has experienced flu-like symptoms. With a four-day incubation period, the quarantine of that tier will be lifted on Thursday.

The case is not considered deadly and after spending seven days in Cermak, the infected detainee will return to his unit on Sunday. On May 2, the Cook County Jail limited visitation as a result of concerns about the H1N1 virus. Only immediate family members and attorneys are allowed visitation with detainees, a plan that will remain in effect until further notice by the Cook County Department of Public Health.

To date, seven jail detainees have been tested for flu-like symptoms and only one has been confirmed to be the H1N1 virus.

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