The Crusader Newspaper Group

More COVID-19 deaths in Black neighborhoods as cases rise

Nine people in six Black zip codes in Chicago died in one week, according to Crusader calculations of data from the city’s COVID-19 dashboard.

With a 6.2 positivity rate for the second consecutive week as of December 19, Chicago remains at medium risk as COVID-19 cases rise among the city’s 2.7 million residents.

In Chicago’s Black community, three people died in Englewood’s 60621 zip code, bringing the death total to 150.

In one week, two people died in zip code 60620 (Auburn Gresham, Chatham, Beverly); and zip codes 60617 (East Side, South Chicago, South Shore, Avalon Park, Hegewisch, Pullman), 60619 (Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing, Burnside, Avalon Park, South Shore); 60649 (South Shore, Woodlawn, Avalon Park, South Chicago) and 60653 (Oakland, Grand Boulevard) each had one COVID-19 death.

Zip code 60653 (Oakland, Grand Boulevard) was the only one of 20 Black zip codes to have a positivity rate higher than the city’s 6.2 percent average.

Chicago Public Schools has reported twice as many cases among students and more than three times as many adult cases, compared with this time last school year.

According to data from CPS, there have been 5,003 adult cases and 8,539 student cases so far this school year, from August 21 to December 14.

Chicago health officials say if the city hits a high COVID-19 level, they will issue a formal advisory for Chicagoans to wear their masks indoors.

ABC7 Chicago reported that in 2021, with a shorter school year, there were still 1,335 adult cases and 4,182 student cases. That is more than three times as many adult cases and a little more than two times as many student cases at the same point in the school year this year.

Covid Rates

Chicago health officials have issued warnings as the holidays swing into high gear and concerns grow about the possibility of the triple threat of COVID-19, RSV, and the flu. Black residents continue to have the highest number of flu cases that are driving up hospital rates.

“Unvaccinated Chicagoans are twice as likely to get COVID-19 than those who are up to date,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The Chicago Department of Public Health marked the two-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccines being administered in the city by sharing a renewed push to convince people to protect themselves and others against respiratory viruses.

Another concern is the number of available beds at area hospitals. The Illinois Department of Public Health shows hospitals statewide are nearing an 83 percent ICU bed capacity. More than 180 of them are COVID-19 patients, and state health officials say hospitals are seeing increases in flu patients, as only 17 percent of hospital beds are available statewide.

“What we are seeing right now is quite a bit of influenza,” Dr. Larry Kociolek, medical director of infection prevention and control at Lurie Children’s Hospital told ABC7 Chicago. “We’re seeing more influenza right now than we did at any point of COVID-19.”

No vaccine is available for RSV, but one is being developed, while the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot is now available to anyone six months or older.

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