Coronavirus in Chicago: Resources and Ways to Help Yourself and Others During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Photo courtesy of Ellery Sterling / Unsplash

Updated July 8, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has more than 148,000 confirmed cases and more than 7,000 deaths reported in Illinois, according to daily updates from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Globally, the World Health Organization reports there are more than 11.8 million confirmed cases and more than 544,000 deaths. Coronavirus has come to be characterized by flu-like symptoms ranging from mild to severe, but we now know that symptoms can vary quite a bit depending on the individual. If you are feeling ill and may have been exposed to someone with coronavirus, it is best to get tested. The exposure period of two to 14 days means people can become infected without immediately showing symptoms, with some people not experiencing noticeable symptoms at all.

Testing is now available throughout Illinois, with many testing sites offering drive-up testing to reduce risk of exposure. There are also many places to get tested for COVID-19 antibodies, which show if someone has been infected in the past, but does not test for current infection.

Chicago has entered Phase 4 of Illinois reopening plan. Phase 4 allows for (in accordance with all safety guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health):

  • Schools and childcare centers to reopen
  • Bars and restaurants to allow increase capacity and allow some indoor seating
  • Museums and zoos to reopen
  • Gatherings of 50 people or fewer may resume
  • Some essential travel can occur

According to Pritzker’s reopening plan, Illinois can only move into the next phase of reopening when a vaccine is discovered and made available to the public.

While cases in Illinois may not be spiking, there are many states throughout the US where cases have recently begun to increase drastically. It is essential to remain vigilant with social distancing, mask wearing and hand-washing to ensure conditions in Chicago continue to improve.

Another important development is the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) recent announcement that all international students may be deported if their schools do not offer in-person classes this school year. As many colleges and universities are currently making decisions about how best to proceed this coming year, this announcement comes at a crucial time. Harvard and MIT, which had previously announced that they would be entirely online this coming year, is now suing ICE over this decision.

The New York Times also sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to obtain data about the racial inequities of coronavirus. The data confirms that Black and Latino populations across the United States have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Here is a list of both local and global resources to help guide you through this confusing time:

We will be updating this page as the community continues to be impacted.

Illinois Department of Public Health – Coronavirus Updates

Chicago Department of Public Health  – Coronavirus Updates

CDC Guidelines

World Health Organization (WHO) Info

Important Virus Charts (Vox)

“The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus” (The New York Times)

Chicago Coronavirus headlines:

“Wrigleyville Bars Return From Lockdown With Long Lines And Few Masks” (Block Club Chicago)

“Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Gov. J.B. Pritzker calls for national mask mandate and COVID-19 containment strategy; online Taste of Chicago starts today” (the Chicago Tribune)

“As Illinois moves to phase 4 of coronavirus reopening, don’t think for a minute we’ve got COVID-19 beat” (the Chicago Tribune)

“Coronavirus Kills 37 In Illinois In The Past Day” (Block Club Chicago)

“COVID-19: What we know so far about the 2019 novel coronavirus” (University of Chicago)

List of canceled events & businesses in Chicago (NBC Chicago)

Ways to support others in need:

“We Must Prioritize and Protect The Homeless Against the Coronavirus” (Neli Vazquez Rowland, President & Co-Founder of A Safe Haven)

“Northwestern University Dance Marathon Is Canceled Over Coronavirus Fears, But Your Support Is Still Needed”

My Block, My Hood, My City is delivering supplies to seniors in need. Donate here.

Donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository: they are keeping students fed during closures and helping those in need

Support local restaurants by ordering food to be delivered (most services like Uber Eats and Grubhub are asking drivers to drop off food at the door to minimize contact)

“What You Should Do if Caring for Someone With Coronavirus” (Chicago & Northern IL Red Cross)

More on the Coronavirus Outbreak…

Macaire Douglas lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two sons, and covers the Weekend 101 and monthly Recommended Events features. She proudly supports Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to prevent the illegal abandonment of newborns nationwide. Since its inception in 2000, more than 3,600 newborns have been safely surrendered and adopted into loving homes.


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