65 new ‘mild’ cases of COVID reported at LaSalle veterans home, site of deadly outbreak 2 years ago – NBC Chicago

A veterans’ home in Illinois, where 36 veterans have died during the pandemic, is experiencing another outbreak of COVID-19, state officials said Monday.

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs said 23 staff and 42 residents tested positive for COVID-19 at the Illinois Veterans Home in LaSalle – with all those who tested positive being transferred to a unit negative pressure isolation where they are closely monitored. .

The veterans home about 95 miles southwest of Chicago is the same facility where 36 veterans died of COVID-19 between November 2020 and January 2021.

The department said all current cases are “mild” and staff and residents are showing cold symptoms. No one required hospitalization. Residents are being vaccinated and COVID-19 treatment therapies are being administered, the department said.

A team traveled to the home to provide advice and assistance, including a senior infection control specialist, Illinois Department of Public Health State Physician and Terry Prince, director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, officials said.

The latest cases come after state officials came under fire for their handling of a home-based outbreak in 2020 and 2021, the largest of any congregate care facility in the state.

A report released by Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino in May concluded that the red flags were well documented, as two resident cases of COVID-19 on November 1, 2020 quickly ballooned to 82 positive resident cases. and nine resident deaths on November 12. 2020.

Mautino’s report found it took 11 days for a visit to the Illinois Department of Public Health site that allegedly acknowledged numerous issues, including incorrect masks, alcohol-free hand sanitizer and the “staff complacency”.

Governor JB Pritzker ousted two senior home officials in December 2020, including the home’s director of nursing.

At the time, the governor told reporters, “It should never have been this bad.” The governor then blamed the state’s former chief veterans affairs officer, Linda Chapa LaVia, for her department’s handling of the crisis. LaVia resigned before a scathing report from the inspector general of the Illinois Department of Human Services was released.

The governor’s office said Monday that procedures were different at the height of the pandemic, when infection protocols included checking in by phone and sending additional staff home was discouraged as part of efforts to to contain the spread of the virus. The peak of the veterans’ home outbreak also occurred before the vaccines were released, the governor’s office noted.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey addressed the deaths of COVID-19 veterans at home during a televised debate last week, using it as an example of what he called the Pritzker’s “incompetent and arrogant leadership”, as well as the children who died in the care of the state’s Department of Child and Family Services and the lives lost to street violence in Chicago.

“Thirty-six of our clients at our veterans’ home in LaSalle. Your fault,” Bailey said. “Nine kids at DCFS. It’s your fault. More than 600 dead in Chicago, your fault. It’s time to change.

Bailey’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the latest outbreak.

NBC Chicago

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