Lightfoot Announces First City Of Chicago Employee Dies Of COVID-19

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- An employee of the City of Chicago has died of the coronavirus, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday in a news conference.

"It is with a heavy heart that I am here to announce that Chicago has lost one of our own city employees to COVID-19," Mayor Lightfoot said.

She said the employee was “long-standing, beloved by family and co-workers."

Lightfoot said she will not provide any personal details on the employee, until all family members have been contacted and notified.

"Our hearts go out to everyone who has been apart of this individuals life," Lightfoot said.

In the news conference, Lightfoot also mentioned that the Chicago Housing Authority would be deferring April rent payments until May.

"Today, the CHA announced that it will defer rent for thousands of tenants in public housing through the end of the month while the stay at home order remains in affect," Lightfoot said. "We are working closely with the county and the state to explore other possible solutions that we can bring to residents who are in need."

For residents interested in any of the city's assistance programs visit chicago.gov/coronavirus.

On Wednesday, the city also announced the Chicago Arts for Illinois Relief Fund. The fund, administered by Arts Alliance Illinois in partnership with 3Arts and Arts Work Fund, provides financial assistance to artists, artisans, and cultural organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I am pleased that the co-chairs of this effort are state's First Lady M. K. Pritzker and Chicago's First Lady Amy Eshleman," Lightfoot said.

The City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) has contributed $1 million to the relief effort, along with other leadership gifts from Walder Foundation and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Fundraising activities will be co-chaired by State of Illinois First Lady MK Pritzker and City of Chicago First Lady Amy Eshleman, with support from additional civic leaders. Individuals, corporations, and charitable foundations are encouraged to donate to the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund by visiting www.artsforillinois.org.

Artists and artisans, including stage and production members and part-time cultural workers, experiencing an urgent need can apply starting Wednesday. One-time grants of $1,500 will be awarded through a lottery system and distributed by 3Arts. Additionally, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations of any size will be able to apply for relief through the Arts Work Fund, which will award grants of between $6,000 and $30,000 based on demonstrated need. Interested individuals and organizations can apply now at www.artsforillinois.org.

Additionally, Mayor Lightfoot reminded everyone that Wednesday was Census Day.

"I ask all residents to take a few minutes to fill out the 2020 Census online or by phone. It is easy and takes under 10 minutes to do. This census and making sure every one, every resident, every baby, every senior and everyone else in between, regardless of citizenship status, gets counted is critically important for this city's future,"Lightfoot said.