Dear Chicago Residents and Partners,
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the City’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team (RERRT) are taking immediate steps to address the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on African-American communities, including tele-town halls, community PPE distribution and neighborhood canvassing. The Racial Equity Rapid Response Team is partnering with local community organizations to develop hyperlocal, data-informed strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 and improve health outcomes among communities that have been most heavily impacted.
Three communities have been identified for initial engagement – Austin, Auburn Gresham, and South Shore. 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. Other elements of the RERRT include:
- An Operations Team integrated into the City’s Emergency Operations Center to enable coordination and resourcing of strategies developed through local partnerships.
- The Education/Communication Working Group, which is tailoring messaging to speak directly to the realities that people in these communities face, including protecting loved ones, and guidance for essential workers and multigenerational households.
- A Providers Working Group that is developing strategies to proactively reach patients with underlying health conditions.
- Community leadership networks that are coordinating the distribution of masks and protective resources to local residents in their communities.
To provide targeted information and receive direct input from residents in each neighborhood, the RERRT is hosting three tele-town halls, one for each of the priority communities. The town halls will be streamed live through each organization’s social media platforms:
Thursday, April 23:
- 4:30-6 pm: South Shore Works (@southshoreworks)
Saturday, April 25:
- 10:30am-12pm: Greater Auburn Gresham DC (@gagdcchicago)
- 12:30-2pm: Austin Coming Together (@act.chicago)
In addition, last week the University of Chicago Medicine, a RERRT partner, announced expanded testing capacity in Hyde Park and at the UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial in Harvey of up to 1,000 tests per day per location for COVID-19. These tests will be available at no out-of-pocket cost to patients. Both locations will test patients by appointment with hours varying based on demand.
The City remains committed to addressing the specific needs of Chicago residents and families. We are all in this crisis together.
Stay home. Save lives.