With elderly residents and close living quarters, nursing homes are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. Even as the coronavirus crisis was developing in Illinois, almost a quarter of the emerging cases were tied to nursing home residents or employees. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, recognized that nursing homes would be vulnerable in a March 12 statement, during which she prioritized restricting visits to nursing homes as a method of limiting the spread of coronavirus.
Despite Illinois banning the majority of visitors at nursing homes, the latest infection reports are still showing coronavirus on the rise in senior facilities. Dr. Ezike’s April 4 update confirmed clusters of cases have been found in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, state health officials will not disclose which facilities have cases to protect patient confidentiality, leaving it up to the facilities themselves whether to disclose when there are coronavirus cases. But, daily news reports and infection data highlight the widespread problem of coronavirus infections in Illinois nursing homes.
In DuPage County, multiple nursing homes are battling the virus. One Willowbrook nursing home, Chateau Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, accounts for 7 deaths and 51 of the county’s 606 cases. Another 25 cases are attributed to outbreaks at seven other long-term care facilities in DuPage. Multiple residents of a Westchester nursing home, the Westchester Health and Rehabilitation Center, have passed away from complications from coronavirus, and there are other confirmed cases in that facility. There is also an outbreak at a Carol Stream nursing home, Covenant Living at Windsor Park, with 11 reported cases and 2 deaths. And finally, there was at least one confirmed coronavirus case in a Burr Ridge nursing home, Brookdale Senior Living. In total, long-term care facilities have accounted for 13 of DuPage County’s 19 deaths.
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