Chicago’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood has become an epicenter of the coronavirus in the city, reporting 1,993 cases in its major zip code Monday.
Much of the neighborhood is represented in Chicago’s City Council by 30th Ward Ald. Ariel Reboyras, and 31st Ward Ald. Felix Cardona, Jr. Both say the area desperately needs more COVID-19 testing, some of which will start this week at the Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy. The school is one of six new testing sites Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday.
“The numbers exploded about a week and a half ago. My colleagues and I have been studying this area, we’ve been talking about it for about two weeks now, and hopefully we’re going to get some results,” Reboyras said.
Like many other Chicago neighborhoods, Belmont Cragin has also seen widespread job losses among residents because of the pandemic.
Cardona says in response, some aldermen plan to introduce a bill in the City Council to protect employees who may be forced to come back to work while the pandemic is ongoing, or lose their jobs.
“It’s basically protecting those people that are being threatened by their employer that want them to come back to work. And if they don’t, they’re gonna get fired. And that’s not right,” he said.
Cardona says he hears from about 10 or so residents a day facing similar situations.
Community Reporting Series
“Chicago Tonight” is expanding its community reporting. We’re hitting the streets to speak with your neighbors, local businesses, agencies and leaders about COVID-19, the economy, racial justice, education and more. See where we’ve been and what we’ve learned by using the map below. Or select a community using the drop-down menu. Points in red represent our series COVID-19 Across Chicago; blue marks our series “Chicago Tonight” in Your Neighborhood.