Chicago’s effort to beat back the coronavirus pandemic got a boost from two celebrities Monday, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city was making “good steady progress” toward the next phase of reopening.
Chef José Andrés’ nonprofit World Central Kitchen will feed the workers at two new testing sites designed to expand the number of tests for the coronavirus in Latino communities, which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The testing sites will be run by CORE, a charity founded by two-time Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn, fueled by a grant from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, in an effort to expand the number of tests performed in Chicago from 3,000 per day to 10,000 per day.
The testing site at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy in Little Village opened on Wednesday and the testing site at Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood opened on Friday. Approximately 800 tests have been conducted at the new two sites, city officials said.
Four more testing sites are set to open in the coming weeks on the South and West sides of Chicago: Kennedy-King College in Englewood, Senka Park in Gage Park, Gately Park in Pullman and at Guaranteed Rate Field in Bridgeport for first responders.
The tests are free, and are offered regardless of citizenship status.
"Please, please come out of the shadows," Lightfoot said.
The city is now testing an average of 3,500 people per day, an increase of 500 tests per day since May 11, Lightfoot said. The city will move to the next phase of reopening when the city tests an average of 4,500 tests per day, according to Lightfoot’s reopening plan.
Andrés said his World Central Kitchen will add 15 new locations in the coming days to distribute food in Chicago, an expansion of efforts that began in April.
Andrés’ Chefs for America pays restaurants to reopen and serve meals to people in need, while putting laid-off employees back to work.