CHICAGO (CBS) — While information suggests that the city of Chicago is flattening the COVID-19 curve, data shows more positive cases are being recorded in the city’s Latinx communities.
Mayor Lightfoot said at the beginning of the pandemic, there were concerns that Hispanics were being under counted and under tested. New information suggests the numbers are growing.
“At that time, Chicago’s African Americans accounted for half of the city’s cases. 70% of the deaths. Those findings were breathtaking,” Lightfoot said. “(Back then) the Latinx community accounted for 14% of cases and 19% of death. Those levels have more than doubled. with Latin individuals now accounting for 37% of Chicago’s COVID-19 cases and 25% of the deaths.
Doctor Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said while testing is increasing throughout the city, it is leading to devastating conclusions.
“As the virus continues to shift across the city, it shifts place and ethnicity. We want to get the message out,” Arwady said. “We continue always to investigate clusters and as we do outbreak investigation and workplaces some of them are large workplaces with a lot of Latinx employees. We are working to make sure that people are connected to care and connected to quarantine and isolation facilities and getting information.”
Arwady said the COVID-19 peak isn’t expected until later in the month.
“We are not yet coming down,” Arwady said who noted her data is for Chicago and not reflective of other areas. “We expect to see that peak in May.”
Getting information out to Spanish-speaking communities may be a challenge. Virtual bilingual town halls are being set up by the city for different age groups, seniors and young people. When asked why has the city taken so long to address COVID-19 in the Latinx community, Lightfoot said the city has been monitoring cases since the beginning but a surge has recently taken place.
“People are wondering, is the city going to enforce rules, more forcefully? I think we have,” Lightfoot said. “We have been working with union partners, to make sure that workers are protected, particularly workers cannot afford the luxury of teleworking. That is a worker issue that’s prevalent in black and brown communities. It will continue to be a focus for us.”