Publications by authors named "Michelle Bryant Smith"

2 Publications

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Outbreak of COVID-19 and interventions in a large jail - Cook County, IL, United States, 2020.

Am J Infect Control 2021 Apr 2. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Electronic address:

Background: Correctional and detention facilities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 due to shared space, contact between staff and detained persons, and movement within facilities. On March 18, 2020, Cook County Jail, one of the United States' largest, identified its first suspected case of COVID-19 in a detained person.

Methods: This analysis includes SARS-CoV-2 cases confirmed by molecular detection among detained persons and Cook County Sheriff's Office staff. We examined occurrence of symptomatic cases in each building and proportions of asymptomatic detained persons testing positive, and timing of interventions including social distancing, mask use, and expanded testing and show outbreak trajectory in the jail compared to case counts in Chicago.

Results: During March 1-April 30, 907 symptomatic and asymptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection were detected among detained persons (n = 628) and staff (n = 279). Among asymptomatic detained persons in quarantine, 23.6% tested positive. Programmatic activity and visitation stopped March 9, cells were converted into single occupancy beginning March 26, and universal masking was implemented for staff (April 2) and detained persons (April 13). Cases at the jail declined while cases in Chicago increased.

Discussion/conclusions: Aggressive intervention strategies coupled with widespread diagnostic testing of detained and staff populations can limit introduction and mitigate transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection in correctional and detention facilities.
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April 2021

Network Characteristics and Visualization of COVID-19 Outbreak in a Large Detention Facility in the United States - Cook County, Illinois, 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 Nov 6;69(44):1625-1630. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Correctional and detention facilities have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) because of shared space and movement of staff members and detained persons within facilities (1,2). During March 1-April 30, 2020, at Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois, >900 COVID-19 cases were diagnosed across all 10 housing divisions, representing 13 unique buildings. Movement within the jail was examined through network analyses and visualization, a field that examines elements within a network and the connections between them. This methodology has been used to supplement contact tracing investigations for tuberculosis and to understand how social networks contribute to transmission of sexually transmitted infections (3-5). Movements and connections of 5,884 persons (3,843 [65%] detained persons and 2,041 [35%] staff members) at the jail during March 1-April 30 were analyzed. A total of 472 (12.3%) COVID-19 cases were identified among detained persons and 198 (9.7%) among staff members. Among 103,701 shared-shift connections among staff members, 1.4% occurred between persons with COVID-19, a percentage that is significantly higher than the expected 0.9% by random occurrence alone (p<0.001), suggesting that additional transmission occurred within this group. The observed connections among detained persons with COVID-19 were significantly lower than expected (1.0% versus 1.1%, p<0.001) when considering only the housing units in which initial transmission occurred, suggesting that the systematic isolation of persons with COVID-19 is effective at limiting transmission. A network-informed approach can identify likely points of high transmission, allowing for interventions to reduce transmission targeted at these groups or locations, such as by reducing convening of staff members, closing breakrooms, and cessation of contact sports.
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November 2020