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'Dark Days': Looking Back At The COVID-19 Outbreak At The Villas East Senior Care

Most of the new COVID-19 cases in Sangamon County are from what public health experts call community spread, at house parties, work, restaurants or other places within the community. But that wasn’t the case at the beginning of the pandemic, when most cases were in congregate settings, such as nursing homes.

The Villas Senior Care Community East – a 109-bed nursing home outside of Springfield – experienced one of the first and deadliest outbreaks of COVID-19 in Sangamon County.

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“Those are just dark days. They're just dark times,” said Sharon Reynolds, the administrator for The Villas. “These are the people that you care for.”

Twenty-six residents died, and more than 100 staff and residents contracted the virus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

NPR Illinois talked with staff and a resident about the outbreak and what’s happened since.

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Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois