CHICAGO – A record number of Illinois nursing home residents with COVID-19 died last week as long-term caregivers are trying to get out until they are vaccinated against the virus.
COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented 605 deaths in the past seven days, state figures show on Friday – much higher than the previous 480 two weeks ago.
The number of new infections registered at the state’s long-term care facilities also set a record with 5,063 new cases, up from 4,536 the previous two weeks.
This second outbreak of the virus again transcends the bad trends of the first wave of events and deaths in the spring. The number has dropped significantly in the summer, but has risen again since November following an increase in the vast population.
One encouraging sign is that the number of cases and deaths across the state has dropped slightly in recent weeks. As workers reduce the virus and bring it into homes, researchers say nursing home deaths generally follow the trends of the wider community.
The Illinois Healthcare Council, which represents long-term care facilities, released a report on December 28 looking forward to a “turning point” when vaccinations are scheduled to begin in hospitals.
“Even after the much-anticipated day until then, the nursing home community will continue to ask neighbors to take control measures because clinically vulnerable seniors are suffering from this terrible disease,” said director Pat Comstock. “Nursing home staff will do everything they can to protect their residents because they are throughout the epidemic, but we can’t do it alone.”
AARP officials were outraged by the renewed deaths of elderly nursing home residents who died without the company of family or friends as the government banned visitors.
“No state has done enough to protect residents and nursing home staff, as evidenced by the number of tragic deaths in Illinois,” AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo said in a recent report.
Gallo called on state and federal officials to take immediate action to save lives, saying long-term care officers should now be better prepared nine months after the outbreak.
“Nursing homes should be completely open and open with family members and caregivers, and they should leave to let them know and connect with their loved ones,” Gallo said. “Those contacts with the family are vital to the well-being of the residents.”
As COVID-19 and 7,377 new cases were reported nationwide on Friday, there has been a recent increase, while the percentage of corona virus tests with positive results has dropped to 8%, the lowest since October.
Asked earlier what the government could do to prevent an attack on long-term care, J.P. cited visitor restraint, infection control and additional testing. Pritzker. For their part, nursing home officials have repeatedly asked for financial assistance, safety equipment and government assistance for testing.
According to nursing home lawyers, deaths are the latest sign of a systemic problem, with many nursing homes suffering from poor infection control and fewer staff, especially in Illinois.
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