67 Dead in South Shore From COVID-19

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TWELVE PEOPLE HAVE died from COVID-19 at the Villa at Windsor Park nursing home in South Shore, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. (Photo by Keith Chambers)

COVID-19 fatalities highest than any Chicago neighborhood, Black or white

By Erick Johnson

Sixty-seven people in South Shore have died from COVID-19, more than in any neighborhood in Chicago’s 77 communities, according to a Crusader analysis of the latest data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Of the 67 COVID-19 victims in South Shore, 66 were Black. Thirty-four were male, 33 were female.

The Crusader has learned that since the outbreak began last March, there were seven days where at least three people died from the disease. There were also 15 days where at least two people died from COVID-19 the same day.

Eleven deaths occurred the same day the infection was documented as an incident, the medical examiner’s data show.

The deadliest day in South Shore was last Saturday, May 2 where four people died of COVID-19 on one of the warmest days of the year.

The youngest victim, a 27-year-old Black male, died March 24 at an apartment in the 6800 block of South Crandon Avenue. Data suggest that the medical examiner learned the man had COVID-19 after he died. His infection was documented 25 minutes later after his official time of death. Data also showed the man suffered from obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.

The oldest victim was a 105-year-old Black female who died of COVID-19 April 20 at an apartment in the 7100 block of South Constance Avenue. Data shows the woman also suffered from hypertension, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which causes long-term breathing problems and poor airflow.

Including the 27-year-old man, three of the victims were between the ages of 18 to 35. Six COVID-19 victims were ages 36 to 48. Another six were between ages 49 to 60. Some 23 victims of the disease were between ages 61 to 75. Twenty-nine were 75 or older.

About 18 victims suffered from hypertension. Nine had diabetes and nine had hypertensive arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Doctors say that disease is one of the most serious health problems related to untreated high blood pressure. The disease causes plaque build-up in the arteries. When those blockages occur in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, the end result is called coronary artery disease.

According to the medical examiner’s data, 24 of the 67 deaths occurred in three nursing homes in South Shore.

The Villa at Windsor Park had the highest COVID-19 fatalities among nursing homes, with 12 deaths. Symphony South Shore and Waterfront Terrace both had six deaths, according to the medical examiner’s data.

The latest data from the IDPH show that 91 residents at The Villa at Windsor Park have been infected with the virus. Waterfront Terrace had 53 infected residents. Symphony South Shore has had 50 infected residents, according to state data.

Located just east of Stony Island and South of Hyde Park off South Lake Shore Drive, South Shore is one of the poorest predominately Black neighborhoods in the city.

Many of its low-income residents were former tenants of public housing projects that were demolished under Mayor Richard J. Daley’s Plan of Transformation. Many of the public housing projects were never replaced as promised in the city’s grand plan to overhaul its public housing portfolio.

On Friday, May 1, Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) held a face mask giveaway in the parking lot of the Mosque Maryam at 7351 S. Stony Island.

ALDERMAN LESLIE HAIRSTON (5th Ward) gives out a face mask during her drive-thru giveaway in South Shore. (Photo by Keith Chambers)

Meanwhile, Governor J.B. Pritzker has been hinting that the state’s stay-at-home order may end in the coming weeks. Pritzker last week extended the order, saying Illinois is not ready to reopen, amid growing protests from residents who support President Donald Trump.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike stressed that Illinoisans continue to follow the state’s stay-at-home order.

“We know it’s getting difficult. The weather is nice, people are getting antsy and have cabin fever. And boredom affects both the children and the adults,” she said Saturday at state health leaders’ daily COVID-19 news conference in Chicago.

Ezike suggested ways people can stay occupied while also obeying the stay-at-home order. That includes baking goods for essential workers, gardening, playing board games or learning a new language.

She said to maintain physical and mental health, she advised people to prioritize physical activities, and go for walks outside.

“Let’s think about how we can stay physically active safely, while socially distancing, wearing masks, so that we can take care of both our physical, mental and emotional health,” she said. “I know it’s been hard on everyone, and I’m encouraging everyone to continue to do their best to keep the people of Illinois safe.”

This report was supplemented by the Illinois Capitol News Service.

As one of Chicago’s Black newspapers with a citywide distribution, our mission is to provide readers with factual news and in-depth coverage of its impact in the Black community. The Rona Reports are stories of Black resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Rona Report is made possible by the Chicago COVID-19 Journalism Fund, which is a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

First published in the print edition of the Chicago Crusader Newspaper on May 9, 2020. 

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