Illinois’ long-term care residents are a large portion of COVID-19 deaths

Illinois’ nursing home residents account for an outsized portion of deaths attributed to COVID-19.

New information released Sunday shows long-term care facilities where residents or staff have contracted the virus and also lists the number of deaths. As of Sunday, 286 long-term care residents have died, presumably due to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. The information lists more than 1,800 cases but does not discern between cases borne by residents or health care workers.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state has approximately 1,200 long-term care facilities that serve more than 100,000 residents.

“We knew before we even got into having the large numbers of long-term care facilities with cases that that would be one of our hardest hit areas,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Sunday. “We know that congregate settings, by definition, are hard to be able to do the physical or social distancing and be able to separate and isolate people.”

The state put restrictions on who could enter long-term care facilities early in the pandemic’s spread.

A New York Times report found that, as of Friday, about one-fifth of the nation’s coronavirus deaths have been residents of long-term care facilities.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and public health officials announced 1,197 new cases and 33 new deaths attributed to COVID-19. The new cases now bring Illinois to more than 30,000 cases.

IDPH says the long-term care facility information will be updated once a week.

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