* Press release…
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced the City has awarded a $56 million grant to Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership), in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, NORC at the University of Chicago, Malcolm X College – one of the City Colleges of Chicago – and Sinai Urban Health Institute, to carry out contact tracing services in Chicago, with an effort based in communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These organizations will lead a health-equity based approach to further contain the spread of COVID-19, which will include disbursing 85% of the total grant funding to community organizations in areas of high economic hardship to train and certify a 600-person workforce that will support contact tracing. The 600 newly created jobs will be hired directly from the communities of high economic hardship that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. […]
As part of the grant, The Partnership will be conducting a second competitive bidding process to award the majority of the funding to at least 30 community-based organizations that will recruit and hire the contact tracers and resource coordinators under this grant.
So, they’ve finally awarded the grant money, but now community groups will bid on hiring the workers, which will take time, as will the subsequent hiring process.
* WTTW reports that the governor’s efforts are also coming under fire…
(S)tate Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, said after “bragging” about Illinois’ robust contract tracing efforts, the Pritzker administration has “dropped the ball.”
“When the governor made this huge announcement about how there’s going to be investments, we’ve (the Black Caucus) been trying to work with the governor’s office, even to help them with the planning. And you know it’s been real crickets. We have not heard anything from the governor’s office about how they’re going to roll this plan out,” Ford said. “And unfortunately the Black community I think is going to suffer from this.”
Pritzker’s spokeswoman referred WTTW News to the governor’s remarks about contact tracing last Thursday.
“We continue to build up our contact tracing capacities, including new hires that have increased the ranks of contact tracers by 20% since June 1 for a total of 550 active contact tracers across the state. Two hundred-fifty new tracers have been identified and will join their ranks over the few weeks as we continue to scale up our operation, including new technology to multiply their effectiveness,” Pritzker said. “All 97 of Illinois’ local health departments have applied for funding support totaling $230 million to increase contact tracing. That money is on its way out the door with final disbursement coming in the next few weeks.” […]
In a call with reporters on Tuesday, Chicago’s public health director, Dr. Allison Arwady, said the city is currently assigning every case of a Chicago resident testing positive, such that every COVID-19 patient is called by someone from the city within 24 hours.
That wasn’t the case as recently as a couple of weeks ago. Attorney General Kwame Raoul told me yesterday that contact tracers did not reach out to him after he tested positive in mid-June.
* As we discussed yesterday, the Test And Trace website says Illinois has 611 contact tracers and needs 3,113. The folks at the COVID Act Now website say Illinois needs 3,580 contact tracing staff to trace all new cases within 48 hours.
* AG Kwame Raoul: Take it from me: COVID-19 is serious