Five people died of COVID-19 in one week in zip code 60619 from December 5 to December 12, according to a Crusader analysis of the latest data from the Chicago Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) COVID-19 info.
The deaths renew concerns of the COVID-19 disease at a time when Chicago and its Black neighborhoods are experiencing a surge in cases during the holiday season. Meanwhile, Blacks in Chicago have the highest number of ICU hospitalizations from the flu, according to CDPH data.
Seeking more details of the five deaths that the city reported in 60619, the Crusader examined the latest available death data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Their data show three people in 60619 died between December 5 and December 8. The cause of death is listed as pending for three victims. The Medical Examiner’s Office updates its database as more death information becomes available. Of the five deaths in the database, three were from Chatham, one from Greater Grand Crossing. The fifth victim’s neighborhood in 60619 wasn’t listed.
Zip code 60619, which largely includes Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing with small parts of Avalon, Burnside and Calumet Heights, had a positivity rate of 4.5 percent as of December 12. However, one week prior, the positivity rate was 5.7 percent, which was the same as the city average on December 5.
The city average on December 12 jumped to 6.2 percent and its health status remained at medium risk. According to the city’s COVID-19 dashboard, hospitalizations are climbing, with an average of 43 people a day, and bed usage has increased by 4.6 percent. Emergency rooms are down to 2.4 percent from 2.6 percent last week.
Overall, there were a total of seven deaths that occurred in one week in Chicago’s 20 Black zip codes.
However, only three zip codes have positivity rates higher than the city average. Black zip code 60652 (Ashburn, West Lawn and Chicago Lawn) had the highest positivity rate at 8 percent.
Last week, 14 Black zip codes had positivity rates higher than the city’s 5.7 average on December 5. And 16 Black zip codes experienced a drop in positivity rates from the week prior.
The CDPH reported on December 6 that 19 percent, or 79,938, Blacks have received the COVID-19 Bivalent booster. About 16 percent of Chicago’s Latino residents have received the booster, and 52 percent of Chicago’s white residents have received the updated booster.
Chicago health officials in a weekly report said the number of flu cases continue to rise. They said 24 influenza-associated ICU hospitalizations were reported for the week ending December 9. Since October 2, about 89 influenza-associated ICU hospitalizations have been reported. About 60 percent, or 54 of those cases were Black patients.
Nationwide, COVID-19 cases are climbing in major cities. In New York City, the rolling seven-day average for COVID cases and hospitalizations across the five boroughs the first week of December are at their highest levels since August and February, respectively.
While death rates remain stable, the positivity rate is above 13 percent, and the daily new case average has topped 3,550 and is still rising.
Meanwhile, the RSV illness continues to spread nationwide.
RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Children and seniors are mostly at risk and most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.
RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting a rise in both RSV detections and RSV-associated emergency department visits and hospitalizations throughout the U.S., stretching pediatric hospitals thin.