CHICAGO (CBS) — One of the most surprising statistics from the brutal cold snap is also one of the most heartening. According to a CBS check of Chicago, Cook County and the surrounding collar counties, not a single death has been attributed to the cold.
Apparently outreach efforts to the vulnerable and repeated weather warnings have worked.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised Chicagoans’ many acts of kindness in the cold.
“That’s Chicago,” he said. “That’s the people that make up this city.”
Emanuel brought breakfast Thursday morning to CTA workers at the Kedzie Avenue bus barn.
“Thank you,” he said. “You’re doing a great job.”
He showed appreciation for keeping the CTA moving during the brutal cold.
“Metra is down. Amtrak is down. South Shore is down. But the CTA is up and running,” he said.
Later in a West Side briefing the mayor stressed that the city is not out of the woods yet. One sign of that is the water department urging residents to continue to drip their faucets.
“As it starts to warm up a little bit, you can peel back how many faucets you have on and slow the trickle down,” said Water Commissioner Randy Conner. But we’re recommending another two weeks because of the weather pattern we’re having and the depth of the frost.”
And Streets and Sanitation admitted garbage pickup is lagging in some areas because manpower shifted to snow clearance.
“Our laborers have been working under extremely difficult conditions,” Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Tully said. “Many of them do have families. We’ve experienced a little bit of call off, but we will put additional trucks out there to address any of those overflow issues.”
Meanwhile the 311 center has handled a flood of requests, including 4,000 police well-being checks Wednesday alone. There were 20,000 more by the Chicago Housing Authority.
“Call volume did obviously increase by 1,500 calls, closer to 2,000 by the end of the night, said Rich Guidice, OEMC director.
In a volunteer effort, OEMC workers and 18th district police collected and distributed coats to the homeless.