IRVING PARK — Ald. Rossana Rodriguez’s (33rd) mutual aid network is focused on helping seniors who need help during the stay home order in effect to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Rodriguez has been building this mutual aid network for the past three weeks so seniors struggling to access digital communications can get help they need.
“My team is making wellness calls to seniors, supporting local food pantries, connecting people with services and more,” Rodriguez said.
Over the weekend volunteers called 400 seniors to ask if they needed help with anything. While Rodriguez’s network already has 300 volunteers scattered across neighborhoods in and around the 33rd Ward, they can still use more help.
Anyone interested in helping can sign up using this Google Form or by contacting the 33rd Ward office by calling 773-840-7880 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A review of state data tracking COVID-19 shows that the 60618 zip code — which includes parts of Irving Park, Albany Park, North Center, and Avondale — has 109 confirmed cases of the virus as of Monday, according to state data. It’s a higher number of confirmed cases compared to neighborhoods in the surrounding zip codes.
However, the rate of testing for the 60618 zip code through Sunday is 32.2 to 208.9 per 100,000 people, according to city data. The rate of testing for the 60618 zip code is lower than in other parts of the city.
Sections of Irving Park, Albany Park and Avondale in the 60618 zip code are also within the boundaries of the 33rd Ward.
In addition to calling seniors, Rodriguez, her staff and volunteers are also distributing printed newsletters in English and Spanish that include basic health information like what symptoms to look out for, what people should do if they’re sick and hotlines to call if they need help with things such as income, bills and utilities.
“Our focus at this time is to make sure we’re being a resource to those communities that need it most,” said Kirsten Rokke, Rodriguez’s chief of staff. “We wanted to make sure we took this extra step in translating the information into both English and Spanish so it’s accessible to our whole community while we’re all taking care of each other.”
During a Monday press conference, Gov. JB Pritzker said people should do whatever they can to stay home to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, including considering avoiding grocery stores for the next few weeks as the state continues its grim climb to the anticipated apex of new cases.
The 33rd Ward’s list of resources for people affected by COVID-19 can also be found online here.
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