* Hannah Meisel asked Gov. Pritzker on Tuesday if the National Guard was being sent to the LaSalle Veterans’ Home. He gave her the brush-off, saying “I don’t know where you get your rumors from.” That was a needless and disrespectful jab even if it wasn’t true. Turns out, Hannah’s sourcing was right. Here’s her scoop…
Members of the Illinois National Guard staff have been sent to the LaSalle and Quincy Veterans’ homes to assist with COVID-19 testing and screening at the facilities, Gov. JB Pritzker’s office confirmed Thursday.
It’s not a deployment and those going into the facilities are National Guard staff members and not reserve members. But Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said the homes are in need of help with daily COVID-19 testing.
In a statement Thursday, La Salle County Veterans Assistance Commission Superintendent Steven Kreitzer said the staff are “medical units that will be utilized to maintain records of temperature checks and COVID-19 testing as well as make sure PPE is being worn at all times properly.” […]
The extra help comes after a massive deadly outbreak of the virus is mostly under control at the LaSalle facility, and a smaller outbreak at the Quincy home is ongoing. A 33rd resident at LaSalle died this week after testing positive for COVID-19, meaning more than a quarter of the residents in the home since the outbreak was first reported on Nov. 1 have died. There have been two COVID deaths at Quincy.
Hannah also asked Pritzker this week if the LaSalle Veterans’ Home director had been terminated based on new information or information from the initial probe. And if the firing was based on old info, she asked, what took him so long to do it? Pritzker sidestepped the question.
Every time he does something like that, I wonder what else he’s not telling us. And I’m sure I’m not alone.
*** UPDATE *** The governor today…
We also have the Illinois National Guard on the ground, assisting efforts at LaSalle, with their arrival at Quincy and Manteno set for Monday, providing staff support for screening and handling testing data tracking so that medical staff can focus on direct patient support.
Two days ago, I was asked here about the National Guard being deployed to our homes, and I dismissed it as a rumor. In retrospect, I had directed every member of my administration to move quickly to respond with every available resource to assist IDVA, and the National Guard was asked to be of assistance before I was made aware.
That’s a good thing. I want my administration to be nimble and responsive, but I want to apologize for being dismissive when I was asked about it.
I will say this is just one example of how we are directing every available resource to our veterans’ community through the period of exceptional risk here in Illinois. We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to safeguard our most vulnerable, especially those who lived to serve.
That was well-done.