Sinai Community Institute, 2653 W. Ogden Ave., has teamed up with the social service nonprofit Chicago Create Real Economic Destiny to do contact tracing in North Lawndale.

When a person tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracers try to track down every single person they’ve come in contact with, to figure out how they might have become infected and if they may have unknowingly infected anyone else. All of those contacts are tested as quickly as possible and quarantined for two weeks, so they get treated and don’t infect others.

Sinai’s contact tracing program was born of concerns that many Chicago CRED clients weren’t social distancing. Sinai Health System officials said the program is still in the early stages. In addition to contact tracing, the program will also give residents other resources, such as clean drinking water and a place to quarantine.

Sinai Community Institute is part of the Sinai Health System, which has three other facilities in North Lawndale — Mt. Sinai Hospital, 1500 S. Fairfield Ave., Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, 1401 S. California Ave., and  Sinai Urban Health Institute, also at 1500 S. Fairfield Ave. 

The Urban Health Institute is taking part in a contact tracing initiative organized by the Chicago Department of Public Health. 

Chicago CRED is a nonprofit organization that aims to reduce violence by addressing its root causes, providing trauma-informed counseling, life coaching and help with finding jobs.

Dan Regan, a Sinai Health System spokesperson, said the program employs two contact tracers and one supervisor. 

“When a referral is made of a person who may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, a tracer will reach out and ask the questions relevant to who they had contact with,” Regan said. “Each person whose information is provided will be contacted and provided information on getting tested and addressing how to quarantine safely.”

The test results, he said, “will be shared with the appropriate entity by the hospital or clinic providing testing.”

The program got its first positive COVID-19 case in July 24. Regan said that the grant funding will only last for only a few months, but that the Sinai Community Institute is “exploring opportunities with the city to continue tracing.” 

During the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council’s Health & Wellness Committee’s July 21 meeting, Angela Brown, Sinai Community Institute’s system director, explained that while the contact tracing initiative initially focused exclusively on North Lawndale young people, the program was recently expanded to all North Lawndale residents.

For more information about Sinai’s contact tracing program, call (773) 257-5913.