Suburban Chicago Nursing Home Reports 1st Coronavirus Death

Associated Press
March 25, 2020 - 1:21 pm

CHICAGO (AP) — An elderly resident of a suburban Chicago nursing home where dozens of residents and staffers tested positive for the coronavirus has died, officials said.

The death of the 90-year-old woman who lived at Chateau Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook comes as a top official at the facility denied a contention made by a former certified nursing assistant that she had quit her job because there were not enough protective gear and appropriate cleaning supplies.

“I took pictures of our supply of gloves and masks and gowns and goggles and face shields and hand sanitizers and there is no shortage," Ron Nunziato, CEO of Extended Care Living LLC, which manages the facility, told the Chicago Tribune.

But Tonya Davis said she left her job after she was unable to get even the most basic of supplies. “They didn't (give) me anything, really," she told the paper. “Just gloves. My face mask, I got at another facility.”

Davis said she tested negative for the virus.

On March 14, a day after the DuPage County facility announced that it would not allow visitors, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the facility. Days later, the governor announced there were 22 confirmed cases of the virus, and the number has since increased to 46 cases — 33 residents and 13 staff members.

Of that group, six residents have been taken to area hospitals, while the rest are being kept in isolation.

Those figures reflect what is going on across the country. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The new coronavirus has caused a global pandemic that has sickened more than 438,000, killed at least 19,600 worldwide, crippled economies and forced restrictions on the movement of millions of people in an effort to stop the virus from spreading further and overwhelming health care systems.

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges have been working to get some Cook County Jail detainees released and away from people who may be carrying the virus. The sheriff who runs the jail said late Tuesday that he was taking steps to address concerns raised by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and others about the possibility that the process may risk the infection of people outside the jail.

In a news release, Sheriff Tom Dart’s office said that all people being released are having their temperature taken to “make sure no release is leaving with flu-like symptoms.” Also, the jail is working with various health departments to find appropriate housing for anyone ordered released who has symptoms, he said.

The comments from Dart come after a judge called for the review of thousands of criminal cases in the hopes of reducing the jail population to help prevent the virus' spread.

Dart's office said that a total of three detainees and three staffers at the jail had tested positive for the virus.

It was not immediately clear exactly how many detainees have been released as part of the new hearing process, but on Wednesday the jail held 5,306 detainees, compared with 5,427 on Monday.

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