City leaders want more contact tracing, COVID-19 testing on South, West sides

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020
City leaders want more contact tracing efforts focused on South, West sides
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City leaders said predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods are more at risk for COVID-19 and need more resources.​

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor and Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez joined several community groups Tuesday in a continued call for more testing and contact tracing on the South and West sides.

The group believes the city has failed in its effort to effectively provide COVID testing and contact tracing in all neighborhoods.

City leaders said predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods are more at risk for COVID-19 and need more resources.

"The same money that you put in making sure people get the flu shot and making sure kids get immunized, that's the same effort they need to put in COVID testing," 20th Ward Ald. Jeanette Taylor said.

The group wants Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health to expand permanent COVID-19 testing sites on the South, Southwest and West Sides by October 13.

The sites need to be free and easy to find with no appointment necessary, no ID required with day and evening hours, open 7 days a week, city leaders said.

RELATED: City of Chicago looking to start hiring 500 COVID-19 contact tracers right away; full, part time positions available

Mayor Lori LIghftoot announced Chicago's first Contact Tracing Corps and Resource Coordination Hub

The group also said the city's privatized contact tracing does not have people trained and working since it was announced months ago.

"They continue to say that they have adequate numbers of contact tracing. We know that that's not true when the projections are assuming that things are going to get better and things are getting in our communities much worse," 25th Ward Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez said.

The group also wants Mayor Lightfoot to call the CEO of grocery chains like Aldi and Jewel along with CVS and Walgreens to put testing sites near their entrances where people frequent and can see them.

RELATED: Chicago updates COVID-19 restrictions, limits amid dropping cases; changes take effect Thursday

Breweries, taverns, bars and other establishments that serve alcohol without a food license may reopen with limited indoor seating.

Mayor Lightfoot and city officials announced plans to remove several restrictions for businesses, bars and restaurants starting Thursday, citing a downward trend in COVID numbers in the city.

However, this group says that would cause more harm for people of color who work in the back of restaurants and for people in vulnerable communities with pre-existing conditions.

ABC 7 reached out to the Mayor Lightfoot's office for a comment.