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Illinois Department of Public Health Says all Illinois Long-Term Care Facilities Must Test For COVID-19

On Thursday, May 28, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced a filling of emergency rules for long-term care facilities in response to the continuous spread of COVID-19 and related outbreaks. The mandates say these facilities “must comply with infection control practices, including testing all residents and staff for COVID-19.”

In addition, each facility will now be required to:

covid-19 cases in nursing homes

The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) has made a map of the state’s long-term care facilities in Illinois with cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff public. The numbers are provisional, and the list is updated weekly to show lab-confirmed cases and cases meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) outbreak case definition.

While facility administrators have been instructed to restrict visits, cancel group activities, shut down dining rooms and screen residents and staff for fevers and respiratory disease symptoms, we encourage family members of residents who reside in an Illinois long-term care facility to visit this map often to help understand the growing risk COVID-19 may present to their loved ones.

Visit the IDPH website here and scroll down to locate the county in which the facility you are looking for is in.

Nursing Homes Must Report COVID-19 Sicknesses and Deaths

COVID-19 has an alarming infection rate across the U.S., now totaling more than 672,000 confirmed cases, according to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Many of the individuals at most risk of a COVID-19 infection in Illinois reside at one of the state’s 1,200 long-term care facilities, responsible for the care of more than 100,000 individuals. Several advocates for quality long-term care are now raising questions about how accurate the reporting of COVID-19 cases among Illinois residents truly is and how that may be causing a delay in preventing the spread of the disease.

Levin & Perconti partner and attorney Steven Levin spoke to Chicago ABC7 about the role of inaccuracies in reporting COVID-19 cases in the state, saying, “I believe that reported cases are the tip of the iceberg. I believe we are going to find a scary situation once independent observers can go into the nursing homes to see what’s happened.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) says as many as 305 long-term health care facilities have felt the impact of the highly contagious virus, with many nursing homes experiencing wide-spread community transmission. While there is no publicly available list of Illinois facilities battling coronavirus infections, on Wednesday, April 15, the state reported 1,587 cases associated with long-term facilities and 296 related deaths, including residents and staff.

levin & perconti coronavirus update questions

What kinds of social distancing measures are nursing homes taking at this stage of the pandemic?

CMS guidelines have eliminated all communal meals and activities to limit residents’ contact with each other and allow facilities to repurpose communal spaces (like activity rooms) to spread residents out. Likewise, CMS is prohibiting visitation by family and friends, advocates and non-essential health care providers. The only exception is for “compassionate situations,” including but not limited to end-of-life visitation. Visitors making compassionate visits will be required to wear personal protective equipment, comply with other safety measures and refrain from physical contact. Finally, a person exhibiting any respiratory symptoms whatsoever will not be allowed to visit.

Facilities should already be following longstanding CDC guidelines for infection prevention. Here are some questions that can guide your inquiry into whether they currently comply with the rules.

Nursing Homes Must Do More to Protect Residents and Staff

First Illinois Nursing Home to Report Coronavirus Outbreak is in DuPage County

Officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are reporting at least 46 people, including both residents and staff, have tested positive for coronavirus at a DuPage county nursing home. This is the first coronavirus outbreak in a long-term care facility in the state. Chicago’s WGN9 reported the first confirmed test of a Willowbrook resident over the weekend by state health officials. Only days later, the virus moved quickly to others at the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located in the 7000 block of South Madison Street in Willowbrook. Thirty-three of the cases are residents, and 13 are staff members. Public health officials said other residents are now isolated in another area of the facility as officials expect additional positive tests to come back. Willowbrook is a southwestern suburb of Chicago.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sent out a new set of rules for nursing home facilities on Friday, March 13. The strict guidance says that all visitors and non-essential health care personnel should be restricted, except for certain compassionate care situations, such as an end-of-life situation. In addition, long-term care staff should start being screened for symptoms before starting their shift.

Steve Levin

A message from Attorney Steven Levin

Nursing home residents are at the center of a perfect storm: starkly vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, which has proven particularly deadly to the elderly, and cut off from those who can most effectively speak up to protect them.

As experienced advocates for patients in long term care and their families, our firm is ready to help you ensure that your loved ones stay safe and healthy.

coronavirus in nursing homes

Concern for Coronavirus Spread is Now a Sobering Reality for Illinois Nursing Homes

On Tuesday, March 15, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the first death from the new coronavirus in Illinois. The woman had close contact with another person infected with the virus. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said she did have an underlying health condition but was not a resident of a nursing home facility. Although a total of 160 cases of COVID-19 have now been tracked in the state, including 22 cases at Willowbrook nursing home in DuPage County impacting 18 residents and four employees. Chicago’s WGN9 reported the first resident’s confirmed test over the weekend by state health officials. The resident is now in critical condition. The virus has since moved quickly to others at the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located in the 7000 block of South Madison Street in Willowbrook.

Fast-Changing Information About Coronavirus in Illinois (March 17, 2020)

As the country is wrapped in a global pandemic never witnessed before by many, it’s important to make predictions about which groups of people will be most affected by coronavirus, or COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that older adults carry the characteristics that put them at greater risk of illness and death related to the virus. These adults may have limitations which impair their ability to respond to an infectious disease or emergency, such as:

  • Disabilities that have impaired their mobility

Coronavirus Outbreak Reported at U.S. Nursing Home

Coronavirus Outbreak Prompts Long-Term Care Facilities to Follow Updated Infectious Disease Guidelines, Provide Stay Well Tips for Staff, Residents, and Visitors

Managing the care of more than 2.2 million people living in U.S. long-term care settings, many with underlying health complications, without the spread of rapidly growing pathogens, is difficult and can cause severe complications to residents. And during a viral outbreak, such as the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19), nursing homes will become even more challenged. The new virus is thought to spread primarily via droplets in the air, similar to other respiratory viruses, such as influenza, and has been identified in more than 85,000 people worldwide and led to nearly 3,000 deaths, said officials from the World Health Organization.

Unfortunately, an outbreak of the novel contagious illness has become known at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, near Seattle. The event has left four residents dead and many others – including care staff – hospitalized. Also, of the nursing home’s 108 residents and 180 staff members, more than 50 have shown signs of possible COVID-19 infections, officials said. In Illinois, the coronavirus disease should be especially worrisome for nursing homes. In the final state inspection report of 2019, more than 100 facilities were cited for various violations of the Nursing Home Care Act, a statute that provides nursing home residents and their families with the assurance that proper and safe care will be received.

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