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*** UPDATED x1 *** IDPH stops reporting historical nursing home COVID-19 outbreak data

Saturday, May 23, 2020

* Jennifer Smith Richards and Robert McCoppin at the Tribune

The state has stopped providing total numbers of novel coronavirus cases and deaths linked to long-term care facilities in Illinois, instead disclosing information only on homes with newer outbreaks.

The Illinois Department of Public Health changed its reporting criteria Friday to highlight nursing homes and other facilities that have had at least one new coronavirus case in the last 28 days. Information about homes that struggled with an outbreak earlier in the pandemic but haven’t had recent new cases no longer is being published.

For example, the Tribune reported May 15 that, for the first time, a nursing home outside the Chicago area had reported at least 20 deaths. That was Villa East in Sangamon County, which had 21 workers and residents die of the coronavirus.

But because Villa East had no new cases recently, it was excluded from this week’s reporting and those 21 deaths have disappeared from the public-facing data. The only downstate nursing home listed with 20 deaths now is Edwardsville Care Center in Madison County near St. Louis. It had one new COVID-19 case since the last public data release on May 15.

“Our priority is to focus on those facilities currently experiencing an outbreak, and also to provide to the public the current status of COVID-19 in Illinois,” department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold wrote in an email to reporters.

That explanation is ridiculous. There are plenty of historical data tables on the IDPH website.

*** UPDATE *** I’m told IDPH will restore the historical outbreak data, but will specify which homes have current outbreaks and which do not.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

9 Comments
  1. - Southsider - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    Unforced error. Time to FOIA for emails and texts from industry folks. Good to see journalist keeping and eye on things.


  2. - Temp Expat - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    Seeing a very troubling trend with the Pritzker administration…


  3. - Larry Saunders - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    The State’s been less than transparent about its stats regarding congregate care facilities and prisons. Given IL’s high infection rate and less than stellar testing rates, these congregate care stats are now probably too inconvenient to dwell on for those who want to cite State progress.


  4. - Back to the Future - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 2:11 pm:

    Agree with Temp Expat.
    I think these daily pressers are are becoming more about ”spin” than “facts”.
    The Pritzker Administration to the problems nursing homes are having has been a big failure. This is a really tough event to deal with so we should all be supportive of the government officials that are trying to struggle with it, but covering up or refusing to provide critical information the public and our local journalists is just plain wrong.


  5. - Downstate Illinois - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 2:59 pm:

    Hundreds of Illinoisans have died in long term care facilities. We need to n ow which ones any why. Was it community spread and a staff member introduced it to a facility or was it the admittance of COVID patients into these facilities. Gov. Cuomo mandated this in New York. DeSantis prohibited it in Florida. Illinois did nothing to block these admissions which probably cost a lot of people their lives.


  6. - Bigtwich - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    I don’t care how they got here. The end result is much more useful.


  7. - Back to the Future - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 3:37 pm:

    Hat tip to these journalists from the Tribune.
    We are lucky in Illinois to have reporters like these folks and the reporters at WBEZ among many others that work on investigative journalism.


  8. - dbk - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    Hi there to who(m)ever from the Administration is reading CapitolFax today.

    This decision is wrong from both an epidemiological and scientific standpoint and an ethical-moral one.

    IDPH should be publishing full data, daily, on historic - current incidences in LTC facilities.

    And not only: if your boss really wants to demonstrate what Illinois stands for, IDPH should be publishing the racial breakdown within nursing homes daily. That data will be more valuable than anyone can imagine at present, and could comprise a national standard.

    It’s not a badge of dishonor, it’s a badge of courage - and I think the Governor is up to it.

    For further, click on our monogram.

    I know you can do this, honest.


  9. - observing - Sunday, May 24, 20 @ 8:58 am:

    Reporting the spread of the virus in nursing and assisted living facilities is vital. Doing so allows doctors and other medical professionals to know the landscape. Families will have information with which to make decisions about their loved ones.

    Another factor about nursing homes that is important to know is that there is a dangerous shortage of personal protection equipment, PPEs…face masks, full face shields, gloves and gowns for staff to wear when treating patients. PPEs assure protection for both patients and staff. Further,protection of staff results in a safer community when they leave work and interact with families and others they encounter.

    Having PPEs for staff in long-term care facilities is vital for the many patients that have highly infectious illnesses other than COVID. Governor Pritzker…please help these facilities get the vital supplies they need. Hospitals are now much better equipped with PPEs. Now, it’s time to turn your attention to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Your help will save lives.


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