Dear Chicago Residents and Partners,
Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) remain committed to addressing the health disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak, including new data showing the disproportionate impact on Chicago’s Latinx community. As part of a robust response plan, the City has formed a partnership with SEIU Local 1, UNITE HERE Local 1, and the Construction and General Laborers’ District Council of Chicago and Vicinity to better protect essential workers and engage the most impacted communities.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases throughout Chicago continues to increase, and over the past month the data show an increasingly disproportionate impact on the Latinx community. In early April, the Latinx population represented 14% of cases and 9% of deaths. However, new data now show Latinx Chicagoans represent 37% of cases and 25% of deaths. African Americans also continue to represent a disproportionate percentage of cases (36%) and deaths (52%), but Latinx residents now make up the largest percentage of cases.
To address systemic health inequities highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis, the City is leveraging the Racial Equity Rapid Response team to develop solutions that minimize gaps in healthcare systems, create more equity in service delivery, and educate targeted populations while enhancing programs to help vulnerable populations. A key tactic to this new strategy will be the continued education and engagement of Chicago’s essential workforce, which is why the City developed this new partnership with SEIU Local 1, UNITE HERE Local 1, the Construction and General Laborers’ District Council of Chicago and Vicinity.
Through this collaborative effort, the City and unions will develop a robust education campaign to help essential employees remain safe and healthy while they continue going to and from work. In addition, the unions will be organizing membership meetings that help employees better understand their rights during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the City will continue to work in close coordination with these unions to develop strategies to protect workers who may be experiencing increased risk of exposure to COVID-19.
In an effort to reach all members of these communities, the City, through its Racial Equity Rapid Response team, has organized several events in the coming months, including a townhall co-hosted by AARP and Univision, and a youth townhall specifically focused on emotional well-being. Additional events will continue to be organized in coordination with the Latino Policy Forum, Esperanza Health Centers and other community-based organizations.