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

After Nursing Home Outbreak, Resident's Family Can Only Watch From A Distance

Exterior of Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center
Ryan Denham
At least 28 residents and 10 employees have contracted COVID-19 at Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.

Chad Holliday of Normal got the call on Mother’s Day.

On May 10, the administrator at his mother’s nursing home and rehab center called to tell him a few of the other residents had tested positive for the coronavirus. They planned to isolate the sick and test everyone else.

The results at Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center turned up McLean County’s worst coronavirus outbreak: 28 residents and 10 staff members. Three residents have died, including two over the weekend.

"Whatever happens at this point, it's out of our control. We're just watching."

Chad’s 72-year-old mother has tested positive. She only entered the center in January, after a second stroke made it impossible to stay at home where Holliday and his fiancé were her primary caregivers.

“We were there for her every day and every night. And we’re not there now,” Holliday said. “She has to deal with this alone. Of course, she has the staff and everything there. But I can’t provide her that support that we have.”

Holliday hasn’t been able to see her since late March. (The center stopped allowing visitors in mid-March, according to its Facebook Page.) She doesn’t do well on the phone.

“She was there for me for all my life. And then I was there for her. And now we can’t be there for each other at all. So whatever happens at this point, it’s out of our control. We’re just watching. I want to be able to hold her hand and just say it’s gonna be OK,” Holliday said.

The virus has ravaged long-term care facilities across the country. By one estimate, nearly half of Illinois’ COVID-19 death toll is tied to nursing homes.

Holliday praised his mom's center for keeping him informed about what's been happening. The disease is simply easy to transmit, "even taking all the precautions you can," he said.

“I know my mom,” Holliday said. “She’s a very tough woman. In her own words, she comes from that ‘strong peasant stock.'”

Holliday said his mother is still early in her fight against COVID-19. She hasn’t been hospitalized and is still at Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.

“This is the beginning. She’s just starting the process here. We don’t know yet what form it’s gonna take or how it’s gonna hit her,” Holliday said.

Do you have a loved one staying or working at Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center? Contact us at

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 content director for WGLT and WCBU.
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