Whittier, Lyndale have most COVID-19 cases in Southwest

Incidence of coronavirus cases in Southwest Minneapolis neighborhoods

Minneapolis began sharing neighborhood-level data on cases of COVID-19 in early June. Neighborhoods in North Minneapolis and in the Phillips area have been the hardest hit by the pandemic, according to the data.

Neighborhoods with higher numbers of Hispanic residents have seen more cases, said Luisa Pessoa-Brandão, who heads the city Health Department’s research arm. Those are less affluent neighborhoods, and Pessoa-Brandão said residents there are more likely to be working outside of their homes.

As of June 21, Whittier and Lyndale were the only neighborhoods in Southwest Minneapolis with more than 100 confirmed cases (Whittier has more than 125). Pessoa-Brandão said neighborhoods with higher population densities have seen more cases. Whittier, with 14,800 residents, is the densest neighborhood in Southwest, while Lyndale, with 7,100 residents in about half the acreage, is tied with the Wedge as the second densest.

Whittier and Lyndale are also the two poorest Southwest neighborhoods and have the highest proportions of residents of color. Across the city, Black residents make up 19% of the population but 32% of COVID cases. Hispanic residents make up 10% of the population and 30% of COVID cases. White residents make up 64% of the city but just 25% of COVID cases.

Aside from Whittier, Southwest neigh- borhoods with elevated case numbers can partially attribute those numbers to patients at congregate facilities.

Fifty-five of the fewer than 76 total confirmed cases in Cedar-Isles-Dean are from Jones-Harrison. At least 28 of the fewer than 51 total cases in East Harriet are from the Walker Methodist Health Center. At least 26 of the 51-75 cases in Windom are from the Mount Olivet Careview Home. (The city says it is only releasing ranges for reasons of privacy.)

Redeemer Health & Rehab Center, a 119-bed skilled nursing facility in the Lyndale neighborhood, has served 38 positive patients. (Redeemer is a designated COVID support site and all positive patients have been brought to the facility’s 17-bed isolated COVID unit from outside hospitals and congregate facilities; no residents have contracted the virus at Redeemer.)

COVID-19 has hit all age ranges, but people 75 and over have accounted for about two- thirds of the city’s 175 deaths as of June 21.

The city Health Department is working to identify people who have come into contact with COVID-19 patients and has completed over 1,000 investigations. It continues to require that masks be worn in buildings outside of the home and notes that anyone who has been at a large gathering in recent weeks is eligible for a test.

Pessoa-Brandão said that residents need to stay vigilant, wear masks and physically distance from one another, even during the nicer summer months.

“Just because some areas seem to have a higher concentration [of cases] doesn’t mean that it’s not everywhere else,” she said. “You just need to be paying attention to the recom- mendations and hopefully following those.”

Zac Farber contributed reporting to this story.