Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward is donating $100,000 to the University of Chicago to help begin a COVID-19 contact tracing program on the South Side and to aid financially strapped health care workers who treat victims of the coronavirus.
Half the money Heyward is donating will go toward helping the University of Chicago set up a team that will begin contact tracing on the South Side, a program aimed at containing the virus. The practice involves tracing, notifying and monitoring those who have come in contact with people infected with COVID-19 to encourage self-quarantines and potentially limit the spread of the virus.
There have been a higher number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the South Side, particularly in African American communities that have been disproportionately affected.
The other half of Heyward’s donation will go toward the University of Chicago’s Healthcare Heroes Fund, which raises money for child care, transportation and related costs incurred by nurses, doctors and other health care providers who have been working overtime during the pandemic.
“I want to help ease the personal burdens on our health care heroes and support efforts aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, especially in vulnerable communities hit hard by the virus,” Heyward said in a statement.
The contact tracing program will be initiated with the South Side Healthcare Collaborative, which is made up of 30 health care centers and community hospitals on the South Side, officials with the teaching hospital said.
“This support is critical to our efforts to prevent further spread in the community,” said Brenda Battle, vice president of the University of Chicago’s Urban Health Initiative.
Brett Chase’s reporting on the environment and public health is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.