Crusader Staff Report
Alderman Carrie Austin (34th Ward) has revealed that she has COVID-19.
The veteran alderman released a letter as concerns grew about her health. One of her staff members, Terri Marsh, posted the letter on her Facebook page.
“We are humbled that though we were inconvenienced, we are recovering from the regrettable looting as well as on track to reopening businesses based on the state’s and the city’s recommended guidelines,” she wrote.
Austin thanked those who reached out to check on her health and said the “acts of kindness were warmly appreciated.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted Monday that she’s “keeping Alderman Carrie Austin and the rest of her family in my prayers.”
“Alderman Austin is a fighter and I’m hoping for her to have a swift recovery,” the tweet read.
Austin was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley to represent the 34th Ward after the 1994 death of her husband, Alderman Lemuel Austin. She won her first full term in 1996. She was re-elected to a sixth term in February 2019 with 54 percent of the vote.
Austin’s announcement comes as Illinois steps up COVID-19 testing with mobile units after two days of reported increased coronavirus cases.
Among 20 zip codes that include large Black populations or predominately Black neighborhoods, the Crusader found eight zip codes where coronavirus cases have been slightly rising in the past three weeks. They include the neighborhoods of East Garfield Park, Avalon Park, South Chicago, Auburn Gresham, Roseland and West Pullman, Woodlawn and Washington Park, West Englewood, Beverly, Morgan Park, Washington Heights, Austin, Humboldt Park and Ashburn.
On July 9, Mayor Lightfoot released the advisory report compiled by the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, which was established in April to advise city governments as recovery planning efforts were underway amid COVID-19.
The Task Force developed a set of 17 recommendations and four existing initiatives to advance a targeted set of outcomes for Chicago. They include increasing access to mental and emotional health resources and services in communities; increased ownership and employment for Black and brown residents in the region’s contracting and construction industries; and development of new and existing community hubs to encourage tourism in neighborhoods.
The Task Force was co-chaired by Mayor Lightfoot and former White House Chief of Staff Samuel Skinner and involved a group of more than 200 industry experts, regional government leaders, community-based partners, and policymakers. Over the past 10 weeks, the Task Force members assembled a change study and an advisory report to provide critical insights to help Mayor Lightfoot, as her administration works to balance a robust health response with a strategic economic and social response that addresses the unique challenges presented by COVID-19 – many of which underscore the challenges the city faces in the form of structural inequities.
“I am deeply grateful for the hard work of the Recovery Task Force, and their commitment to doubling down on our mission of building a better Chicago that ends economic hardship, confronts racial inequities and unites all of the City’s residents,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “With their invaluable contributions, we will transform the COVID-19 crisis into the once-in-a-generation opportunity that it presents to eliminate the deep, glaring chasms of inequity it has brought to the surface. While we don’t know when this crisis will end, we do know that our recovery from it will not be reached with any short cuts or half measures.”