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With Chicago's Little Village Hardest Hit By COVID-19, Residents Are Urged To Stay Home

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With no big celebrations, it's hard to tell it's Cinco de Mayo.

The festive day is usually a yearly highlight in Chicago's Latinx community, which now tops all other racial and ethnic groups in confirmed COVID-19 cases.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey has more from Little Village.

The Little Village zip code 60623 currently has the most confirmed cases of any single zip code in the state. It's why organizers of the historic Cinco de Mayo festivities aren't taking any chances.

The grills are at Taqueria Victor Bueno are still busy. But on a day that would usually be one of their best of the year, the restaurant is virtually empty.

And the parade route steps away. Compared to last year's event, looks a bit different.

Cinco de Mayo, pandemic style, is almost unrecognizable for Hector Escobar.

"This is the heart of Pilsen and Little Village," said Escobar, President of the Cermak Road Chamber of Commerce and Casa Pueblo, who's been organizing the massive parade and other festivities for a quarter of a century.

Still, he's begging his community to celebrate at home.

"Just stay home. Do not go out. Be safe," Escobar said.

That's because Hispanics make up about 17% of the state. But they also make up about 32% percent of the state's positive COVID-19 tests.

The worst hit? Nearby Little Village.

"Forty-seven percent of people in that community who've been tested, have has tested positive," said Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22nd.)

He attributes the high numbers to aggressive testing and a largely working-class population that has stayed on the job during the pandemic.

As for precautions on Cinco de Mayo? Rodriguez notes that the holiday is more popular here than in Mexico.

"And we just need to make sure people are being responsible in celebrating whatever event they want to celebrate," he added.

At last check Little Village had 1,526 positive cases and nearby Pilsen had 873.

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