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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

Few Coronavirus Cases At McLean County Senior Care Facilities

Luther Oaks
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The only two confirmed cases involving long-term care facilities in McLean County were at the Luther Oaks senior living community. It disclosed those cases weeks ago.

McLean County’s senior living facilities have so far managed to avoid major coronavirus outbreaks like the ones that have killed many across the country.

The only two confirmed cases involving long-term care facilities in McLean County were at the Luther Oaks senior living community, according to newly released data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

They were both employees. Luther Oaks disclosed those cases weeks ago. Luther Oaks said neither person’s job included direct care of residents. At that time, Luther Oaks said both employees were doing well at home. As of Friday, no new cases had been reported there.

Luther Oaks says it’s continuing to follow “the strict guidelines for senior living communities as directed by the CDC and IDPH,” including restricted visitation, canceled group activities, and universal masking for all employees and caregivers.

On Friday, the McLean County Health Department said three employees at local long-term care facilities had contracted COVID-19. Officials declined to say where they worked.

Other senior living facilities in central Illinois have been much harder hit. Nine residents at the Fair Havens Senior Living facility in Decatur have died after contracting COVID-19. In East Peoria, there have been two deaths linked to the coronavirus at the Generations at Riverview assisting living facility.

McLean County Health Department communicable disease supervisor Melissa Graven said nursing homes in the county have taken all the necessary steps to keep their residents safe.

“I talked with several of the facilities several times a day before we even had cases in McLean County,” Graven said. “They were on the ball to make sure they could do everything they could. They had the (personal protective equipment), they had the infection-control measures in place.”

Graven didn’t say whether any of the McLean County cases were connected, but she added the county hasn’t had any cluster of cases in any health care or residential facility.

“I think it’s just amazing what those facilities have done in a very short amount of time with very limited resources, all while trying to have some sense of normalcy and safety for their residents and their staff,” Graven said. 

Outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 have occurred at nursing homes across the country, which house among the most vulnerable of high-risk individuals. In Virginia, for example, more than half of the outbreaks have been in long-term-care facilities.

We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WGLT can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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