Updated Mar 11, 2024 - News

Migrant shelter measles cases could delay evictions in Chicago

square building

A migrant shelter in Pilsen, where two cases of measles have been confirmed. Photo: Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

New cases of measles spreading in a Pilsen migrant shelter have spurred quarantines and could delay controversial evictions scheduled for this week.

Why it matters: Chicago's health commissioner Olusimbo Ige anticipates more cases of the highly contagious respiratory disease, which hasn't been seen in Chicago since 2019.

What they're saying: Despite warning unvaccinated or newly vaccinated shelter residents to quarantine for at least 21 days, "some of those residents have left the shelter," Ige said in a statement Sunday.

  • "Should you be exposed to someone who has measles, if you are not vaccinated [with the MMR vaccine] you need to immediately quarantine and call a health provider."

State of play: The city confirmed two new shelter cases Monday after announcing a second case Sunday. Two are adults; two are kids. That's on top of an outside case announced Thursday but considered unrelated.

  • Officials say they vaccinated about 900 shelter residents over the weekend and are reaching out to people who might have been exposed to infected individuals.

Zoom out: Measles cases and deaths have increased worldwide in recent years due to lower vaccination rates and disrupted vaccination schedules during the pandemic. The current resurgence has emerged in 17 states.

Between the lines: Chicago's outbreak could prompt Mayor Brandon Johnson to extend the 60-day shelter limit deadline again this week, as migrant advocates have recently demanded.

  • Chicago is hosting about 11,500 shelter residents, down from 14,700 two months ago, per city data as of Monday.

What's next: The mayor's office tells Axios it will provide updates this week on how quarantines will affect shelter stays.

Meanwhile, city officials are encouraging unvaccinated residents to visit CDPH immunization clinics. The MMR [measles mumps and rubella] vaccine is offered for no out-of-pocket cost to any child up to 18 years old, and to uninsured adults 19 and older.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to add details about new measles cases.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more