No Evidence of Outbreak at Pilsen Migrant Shelter After 5-Year-Old Boy Died of Medical Emergency, According to City

Cause of death still under investigation

A migrant shelter located at 2241 S. Halsted Street. (WTTW News)A migrant shelter located at 2241 S. Halsted Street. (WTTW News)

The 5-year-old boy who died Sunday after suffering a medical emergency at a Pilsen migrant shelter did not appear to have suffered from an infectious disease and there is no evidence of an outbreak at the site, according to city officials.

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According to Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago Department of Public Health, the cause of death for Jean Carlos Martinez Rivero, 5, remains under investigation, but it’s not connected to three other children who were hospitalized from the shelter Monday.

“The CDPH team will continue to evaluate the situation,” Johnson’s office said in a statement.

Martinez Rivero and his family arrived in Chicago on Nov. 30 and were placed in the shelter located at 2241 S. Halsted St. that same day, according to city officials.

The family left the shelter for part of the morning and early afternoon Sunday, returning at just after 2:30 p.m., the mayor’s office said in a statement. Just 13 minutes later, shelter staff witnessed a “medical emergency” and immediately called 911.

Staff at the shelter began administering first aid to the child, including chest compressions, officials said, until Chicago firefighters and paramedics arrived and took the boy to Comer Children’s Hospital. He was later pronounced dead.

Chicago police detectives launched an investigation into the death, but said it did not appear criminal in nature.

City and state officials have called for a full investigation into Favorite Staffing — the Kansas-based company that’s contracted to run Chicago shelters.

The Halsted shelter has faced complaints of unsafe conditions for those living there.

Annie Gomberg, a volunteer with the city's Police Station Response Team who has been working with Chicago's new arrivals, shared with the Associated Press video taken by shelter residents showing coughing and crying children in the crowded Pilsen shelter where Martinez Rivero was staying. One video showed water leaking from the ceiling onto the cots below.

Several other individuals from the shelter were also transported to a nearby hospital, according to Johnson’s office, and many have already been discharged with respiratory virus symptoms.

“The cases do not appear related other than having originated in the same shelter, and symptoms are consistent with ongoing seasonal respiratory trends,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. “We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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