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Nursing homes and COVID-19: “We are very lucky so far to have been able to contain and control that spread”

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The Tri-County total number of deaths associated with COVID-19 is now at seven. Over half of those individuals lived at assisted living or skilled nursing facilities.

That includes the most recent death. The gentleman in his 70's was a resident at Generations of Peoria.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health that is one of four Tri-County nursing homes battling COVID-19 outbreaks.

Generations of Peoria said in a statement that as of Thursday they have eight residents and ten staff members that have tested positive for COVID-19, but they have not been chosen by the state as a facility where all residents and staff will be tested.

Monica Hendrickson with the Peoria Health Department said while the number is growing, our local long term care facilities have handled this outbreak well and the Governor's so called strike team coming down would not make much or a difference.

"Really those strike teams are going to be focused on entities they see a large quick growth as well as maybe some issues about trying to understand the spread of the virus. In this case we have seen staff that's been tested, properly isolated, and we are seeing individuals recover through this." said Hendrickson

Peoria County Board Chairman Andrew Rand who said his own mother is at such a facility echoed the sentiment as to how these facilities have handled this pandemic.

"We are very lucky so far to have been able to contain and control that spread because of the policies that have been implemented." said Rand

Policies at generations that include screening staff and residents multiple time per day.

Hendrickson said they have encouraged all staff to utilize the community testing sites.

There is also a plan to train staff at these facilities to administer the tests themselves to their residents.

"They've created a curriculum, they've even found videos as well to start prepping individuals. Really now it's about getting supplies to those entities. So we put out a request for over 1000 test kits as our first request and hopefully we can get some in here."

According to the IDPH website there are a total of 47 cases of COVID-19 in our area nursing homes, but Hendrickson said that number is deceiving because that also includes all staff and residents with any type of symptom that have not necessarily been tested.

Kaitlin Pearson

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