President Preckwinkle Launches COVID-19 Dashboard and “Social Vulnerability Index” Interactive Map

April 16, 2020

COOK COUNTY – Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today unveiled the Cook County Medical Examiner COVID-19 Dashboard and interactive Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) Map. The COVID-19 Dashboard provides direct, transparent access to critical information about coronavirus deaths in the County for public health agencies, medical professionals, first responders, journalists, policymakers and residents.

The SVI Map is an interactive way to share information with first responders, public health officials and the public about which communities in Cook County will likely need the most support during a catastrophic event such as a pandemic.

The COVID-19 dashboard shows users which areas of the County are hardest hit by the pandemic. The dashboard data is updated daily at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. Data gathered by the County’s Medical Examiner’s Office shows that African Americans account for half of all COVID-19 deaths in Cook County. In Chicago, African Americans make up more than 60% of all COVID-19 deaths.

“Take a look at the communities most impacted by COVID-19 and then look at the Social Vulnerability Index – you’ll see a direct link between the deaths we are seeing and the communities where these individuals resided,” said President Preckwinkle. “Our communities of color are once again the ones hit the hardest and the long-term social and economic effects to these communities will be felt for many years to come.”

The COVID-19 dashboard allows users to access a range of demographic information for Cook County residents who’ve died as a result of COVID-19, including race and ethnicity. Visitors to the dashboard can also pinpoint neighborhoods that may be experiencing surge, seeing the number and dates of death in those areas.

“A pillar of the Bureau of Technology’s mission is to create applications to provide transparency for the public and, more generally, open government,” said Tom Lynch, Cook County Chief Information Officer. “We have many departments that have worked very hard in this crisis to serve the public as best as we are able. We are able to harness the demographics of our County – the populations and the regions in which they live – and apply our analytical skills to help agencies direct their limited resources in a way that produces the greatest impact for our residents, in particular those who we believe are most in need of help.”

“We realized that we needed to enhance our ability to provide data specific to this pandemic so the people on the front lines of the fight against this virus can easily access information about where deaths are occurring,” said Dr. Ponni Arunkumar, Cook County Chief Medical Examiner. “This can help us identify clusters and surges and hopefully help us make the best decisions to save more lives.”

Social Vulnerability is a term the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses to describe the vulnerability of a community to human suffering and financial loss in the event of a disaster. Factors that the CDC believes contribute to social vulnerability include poverty, lack of transportation access, language barriers and others. SVI is a measure of the presence of these combined factors in a community.

The SVI score relies on U.S. Census Bureau data. Possible SVI scores range from 0 (lowest vulnerability) to 1 (highest vulnerability). The Cook County SVI Map displays the SVI Score for each census tract within the county. More information about SVI is available on the Cook County SVI Map. The SVI Map is available to view in English and Spanish.

“When we analyze this data, it quickly becomes obvious that this public health emergency is magnified for already vulnerable communities. That’s why at Cook County we use data to drive decision-making and provide residents of the County with actionable information,” said Dessa Gypalo, Cook County Chief Data Officer.

Other interactive maps with information for public health officials, first responders and the public are available on Cook Central – Cook County’s Geographic Information Systems maps and data hub.

More information about SVI is available from the CDC.