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More than 1 in 5 people living in state developmental centers have tested positive

Friday, May 22, 2020

* By Jennifer Smith Richards of the Chicago Tribune and Jodi S. Cohen of ProPublica Illinois

While much of the attention related to COVID-19’s impact on vulnerable populations has focused on deaths at nursing homes, infection rates are remarkably high in another kind of residential setting: state-operated centers for adults with cognitive or behavioral disabilities.

As of Thursday, more than 1 in 5 people living in these developmental centers had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, state data shows. That’s more than double the infection rate seen in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, where confirmed cases account for about 7% of residents, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Of about 1,650 people who live in the seven developmental centers, which are scattered throughout the state, at least 355 have tested positive, or 21.5%. Eight residents have died, as have four workers.

These facilities share some characteristics with other congregate-care settings, such as shared living quarters and the need for workers to bathe residents, change diapers and perform other intimate tasks. But the developmental centers face specific challenges in fighting the virus. Many residents can’t wash their hands on their own or wear masks. They may not understand why their families aren’t coming to visit or why they can’t leave the home for their usual activities.

So when COVID-19 arrived in the facilities, it spread quickly.

At Elisabeth Ludeman Developmental Center in Park Forest, 59% of about 340 residents and about 13% of the 900 workers had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday. More than 37% of residents have tested positive at the Jack Mabley Developmental Center in Dixon, in the western part of the state, which has about 112 residents. So have 13% of the roughly 215 workers.

Only the William Fox Developmental Center in Dwight, the smallest of the seven centers with 80 residents, has reported no cases to date. […]

At Shapiro, 71 residents had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Thursday— about 15% of the resident population. And at the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia, about 11% of residents had tested positive. Many were asymptomatic; many already have recovered, workers and family members said. […]

Many Illinois adults with developmental disabilities live not in the state-run centers but in privately operated facilities as well as hundreds of group homes. The state recently began tracking cases in many of the midsize private facilities that often serve people with more significant medical needs and have suffered some severe outbreaks. For example, at Golfview Developmental Center in suburban Cook County, a privately operated 135-bed facility, there have been 94 confirmed coronavirus cases and 10 deaths, according to the state.

There’s more. Go read the rest.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

6 Comments »
  1. - OurMagician - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 11:59 am:

    Kudos to the Fox Center for their efforts.


  2. - Generic Drone - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    This does not suprise me. Many of the residents of developmental facilities will not understand what is going on.


  3. - Concerned - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 12:41 pm:

    Kudos to the staff of these centers who have worked very hard to keep these special individuals safe. I am very disappointed that the community group homes (CILAs) haven’t had to report all their cases. Just as they self report abuse/neglect they self report COVID-19 cases. The good providers will self report. The others hide behind “privacy” As someone whose loved one lives in a CILA I have been advocating for years that the community homes have the same oversight and standards as the state centers. IDPH needs to be in charge of them. At this time it is DHS.There needs to be far more transparency in the community system. Thankfully my brother’s provider has been transparent through this ordeal


  4. - Earnest - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 12:44 pm:

    https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=124346 Reporting is required of CILAs as well.


  5. - Almost the weekend - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    I can only imagine how much worse this would be if the facilities in Jacksonville and Tinley Park were still in operation. Those were both massive. I’m not advocating for privatization FYI, but these would surly be two more Hotspots in Illinois.


  6. - Cool Papa Bell - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 2:47 pm:

    Every life is important.

    But I have to say I am actually a little heartened by the fatality numbers from those infection rates. Many of those individuals in state homes have underlying health conditions.


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