April 20, 2020
At a press conference today, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., provided an overview of Chicago COVID-19 data. As of April 19, there have been 12,571 cases in the city and 500 deaths. The race-ethnic breakdown of deaths were: 287 Black, non-Latinx (57%); 83 Latinx (16%); 82 White (16%); 23 Asian (5%) and 5 other (1%), with 20 still under investigation. Nearly 78% of the deaths were people age 60 and older and slightly more than 60% of deaths were males.
To address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on African-American communities, Mayor Lightfoot and the city’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team (RERRT) today announced the team will partner with three community organizations to improve health outcomes in the Austin, Auburn Gresham, and South Shore neighborhoods, all of which have been most heavily impacted.
Organized around four pillars prioritized by the RERRT, the coordinating structure comprises a steering committee and working groups focused on Education, Prevention, Testing & Treatment, and Supportive Services, each to include targeted ways to engage directly with residents in the impacted communities. Each leading community organization is also creating community-specific steering committees and working groups, which will galvanize current leadership for greater concentrated outreach toward the goal of slowing the further spread of COVID-19.
Mayor Lightfoot also announced that the city will supply cloth masks to essential city workers for use in their workspaces. In addition, each city department will have a COVID Safety Office to ensure social distancing measures are being followed. The mayor also said that a process is being established whereby city employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 but who cannot safely isolate themselves at home while they recover can gain access to the Hotel Julian – one of the city’s quarantine and isolation hotels.