Cross-Cultural, Urban, Reformed, Ecumenical

Update for 4/5/2020

Dear Chicago Residents and Partners,

The public health guidance and response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local public health officials further study the spread and effects of COVID-19. On Friday, April 3, 2020, the CDC issued new recommendations around wearing cloth face coverings for individuals in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).

Recent studies are showing that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 who may not currently have symptoms can still transmit the virus; these individuals are often considered asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. 

Based on recent studies, pubic health officials are now advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

This guidance is additive to the measures currently in place, and it is imperative that individuals continue to comply with the statewide Stay at Home Order, practice social distancing, wash hands with soap and water, and regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces. We all play an important role in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and preventing a strain on our healthcare system.

Stay home, save lives.

What's New

  • Open Letter - The Chicago Department of Public Health in partnership with the Big Cities Health Coalition and nearly 30 other health departments shared an open letter to urge residents to stay home. The letter notes that the United States has not seen a public health threat like this in more than 100 years. It makes clear that the best course of action is a shared commitment to adhering to the preventative measures put forth by public health leaders—washing your hands, social distancing and most importantly: staying at home. Read the full text of the letter here.
  • More Support for Healthcare Workers - The City has reached several new agreements with local hotels to provide temporary housing for healthcare workers. Starting next Wednesday, the 200-room London House, and the 225-room Godfrey Hotel capacity will be reserved for healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, orderlies, lab technicians, and custodial staff. These accommodations will offer workers a place to sleep, shower or eat – while providing peace of mind and place for workers to go without risking exposure to their families during the crisis.
  • McCormick Place Alternate Care Facility - The first phase of work to transform the McCormick Place Campus into a new Alternate Care Facility (ACF) has been completed. The McCormick Place ACFis one of the largest in the nation and will treat COVID-19 patients who are experiencing milder symptoms. This will expand existing capacity in Chicago's health care system and enable hospitals and healthcare workers to focus on more severe cases while the ACF serves COVID-19 patients who do not require intensive care. Phase One of the project delivered 500 10’ X 10’ patient rooms furnished with beds and basic healthcare items, 14 nursing stations and fully built out support rooms for medical supply storage, pharmacy and housekeeping services. The full McCormick ACF will bring a total of 3,000 patient rooms online by the end of the month.

Resources

  • Finding Care When Uninsured - If you do not have a medical provider, are uninsured, or have limited or no income and believe you need non-emergency medical services, you can contact your nearest community health center (CHC) by phone and inform them of your need. They will work with you to coordinate appropriate care. CHCs receive funding from the federal government that allows them to charge each patient on a sliding scale fee based on the patient’s income and ability to pay. No patient will be turned away because of inability to pay. There are approximately 165 CHCs throughout the city of Chicago. You can find your nearest CHC at findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov.
  • Mental Health - Emotional reactions to this emerging health crisis are expected. Remind yourself, your family and your friends that feeling sad, anxious, overwhelmed or having other symptoms of distress such as trouble sleeping is normal. If symptoms become worse, encourage them, and yourself, to reach out for support and help. The following are free mental health resources available to all Chicago residents:
  • Connect to a NAMI Chicago Helpline mental health counselor by calling 311 or directly at 833-626-4244
  • Connect to Bright Star Community Outreach's trauma counseling helpline at 833-TURN-123
  • Connect to free teletherapy services at Chicago Department of Public Health Mental Health Centers by calling 312-747-1020
  • For after hours support, contact Crisis Text Line which serves anyone, in any type of crisis, 24-hours a day. Instructions: Text HELLO to: 741741 to access a trained crisis counselor.
  • Smart 911 - Residents are encouraged to sign up for Smart 911 and provide critical medical information to 9-1-1 so they can help faster in an emergency. Residents can create a safety profile for themselves and family members with information on their current health conditions as well as information if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or are under quarantine, and it will automatically be provided to first responders when calling 9-1-1. To learn more, check out this video:

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Latest Public Health Guidance

More guidance documents and supporting materials are available at www.chicago.gov/coronavirus.

Join the Fight against COVID-19

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. have issued a call for assistance from the medical community and are seeking to hire healthcare workers immediately to help the City of Chicago in its COVID-19 response efforts.

  • Medical Assistants and Nurses are encouraged to apply for temporary positions. If you have any questions about the positions or the application process, you may email shelly.johnson@sunbeltstaffing.com or call 813-261-2706.
  • Chicago Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a network of both medical and non-medical professionals who volunteer their time to assist during public health emergencies such as the current COVID-19 outbreak. Many MRC volunteers are just like you - nurses, doctors, pharmacists, therapists, public health professionals, and other community members who believe in keeping Chicago safe. Register at illinoishelps.net and be there when Chicago needs you most.

CDPH is coordinating multiple opportunities for individuals, organizations and businesses to donate medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) and join the fight against the COVID-19. Go to the links below to: