As a father of young children, I am deeply heartbroken for the family of Jean Carlos. The pain from the loss of a child never goes away.
Learning his cause of death sheds some light on the questions his family and so many in our city and city government have had since his tragic death. The cause being sepsis, or an infection in the blood, helps me start to wrap my mind around how his condition deteriorated so quickly and devastatingly. In Chicago, we are very familiar with strep as a respiratory infection, often manifesting in a diagnosis of strep throat. Sadly, Jean Carlos experienced a far more dangerous form of this infection in his blood that the ME determined was ultimately his cause of death.
I understand that the Halsted shelter had a case of respiratory strep early in November 2023, which triggered implementation of protocols of testing and treatment that exceeded CDC guidelines for addressing the spread of the illness. These protocols were in place in late Nov when Jean Carlos’s family came to the shelter and the boy was tested in early December with a negative result.
It is extremely challenging to provide care to so many people in one location and I would like to see federal support immediately to help decompress the shelter and provide additional wrap around services for the residents and the daily new arrivals. In recent years, the state cut funding for healthcare for undocumented residents. I would like to see that restored. I believe the city is doing the best it can to meet the needs to the shelter residents.
Specifically at the Halsted shelter site, I know upgrades have been made in recent months to the HVAC ventilation and heating system, installing filtered drinking water fountains, hand sanitizer stations, deep cleaning of high touch surfaces including in bathrooms and showers 3x per day, 24 hour on site laundry facilities, HEPA filtration in some congregate areas, and other upgrades. Medical teams are on site at least once a week though CDPH may know more details about the current scope of work of the medical teams.

As of mid February, over 2000 asylum seekers are at the site for temporary shelter and we continue to advocate for increased support from the state and federal governments to support alternative housing and services for the residents. These entities were rightfully able to successfully integrate Ukrainian refugees in our state and city with safety and dignity, and we hope state and federal government agencies can implement those same humane programs now.
Fast facts about septicemia
• Sepsis, or septicemia, happens when an infection reaches the blood. It is a life-threatening emergency.
• People who are most susceptible are the very young, older people, and those with a weakened immune system.
• Symptoms include a high fever (, faintness and dizziness, and changes in consciousness.
• Without prompt treatment, septic shock can occur. This can be fatal.
• Antibiotics ( can treat many cases of sepsis effectively, but they need to be delivered fast.
• Recovery can take some time, and the person should get plenty of rest during this period.

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