Illinois state officials are opening an investigation into a coronavirus outbreak at a state-run nursing home where 27 veterans were infected and died, numerous sources reported.
The state’s Department of Veterans Affairs requested an investigation into LaSalle Veterans Home in LaSalle on Tuesday, a rural Illinois town located roughly 90 miles from Chicago, the Associated Press reported.
Since the beginning of November, two-thirds of the facility’s 121 total residents and 230 staff members tested positive for the virus as of Tuesday. More than a fifth of the residents have died of the virus.
“The tragedy of what has unfolded at the veterans’ home cannot be understated,” said Republican State Sen. Sue Rezin, according to the AP. While there were only four cases on Nov. 4, the virus has since spread like wildfire, she explained.
Letter to all veterans regarding the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home. Please rest assured that I will not stop asking questions and pushing state officials until there is a thorough investigation. pic.twitter.com/KZv5aszo81
— Sue Rezin (@SenatorRezin) November 20, 2020
“Very quickly within the past 20 days, we’ve had almost 200 cases,” she said.
The outbreak stemmed from late October, when a staff member and a resident tested positive. In the weeks that followed, 40 residents and 24 staff members were infected, which translates to more than 85% of residents and 40% of staff.
Lawmakers pressed Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia at a hearing Tuesday about the state’s response to the outbreak at the facility. Inspections found that staff were reportedly breaking protocol, according to NPR.
In Illinois, 5,782 residents at long-term care facilities have died after being infected with coronavirus, and there have been 43,233 total cases, according to the state’s website.