* Gov. Pritzker was asked today if he bears any responsibility for the deaths at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home…
Look, I bear the responsibility of leadership of the state, and that means that everything that happens across state government to some degree or another lands on my shoulders.
The veterans’ homes are extraordinarily important. The people who live there are very important to all of us. We want to keep them healthy and safe. This virus has been so virulent, and particularly in areas where there is a very high prevalence of the disease, and where people who work at the homes live in the community. And in the communities sometimes there is not only a high prevalence of the disease but also people not wearing masks and following any of the mitigations.
These things can happen. And I think, most importantly, the question is, at the time that people become aware on site of what’s happening, what are their reactions, how do they care for people there and make sure that they’re safe? And then what can we learn from that, very importantly, to carry on, you know elsewhere to make sure that we’re keeping all of our veterans safe?
While “These things can happen” is accurate, I gotta figure that’s gonna come back on him.
* The governor was also asked about his criticisms of the Rauner administration’s handling of the Quincy Veterans’ Home deaths and was asked if his administration could’ve saved lives by responding more quickly…
Well first of all, we acted much more intensely and much more intently than the Rauner administration ever did. They tried to cover it up. That is what is so disturbing about what happened to Quincy, of those many those several years ago. We’re doing everything we can to make it transparent. We’ve done inspections, we’ve uncovered things that would need to be changed and we’ve made those changes.
And as I said in answer to Rick’s question, it is our responsibility to take care of these veterans, there’s no doubt about it. And to act as quickly as we can when we know this information.
Remember that families weren’t notified at Quincy several years ago. Families were notified within 24 hours of the testing that took place in 24 hours of the facility knowing that it had a problem.
Is there more that could be could have been done? I don’t doubt that there is more that could have been done. It is easy in retrospect to say that about really almost any situation. But I will also say that our intent here from the get-go has been to take care of these veterans and make sure, not only do we learn what mistakes may have been made, but to rectify them.
Last thing I’ll say is that the Legionnaires Disease is extraordinarily preventable. It is in the water supply, we know where it comes from. We know that you can either deal with it within the water supply, or make sure that on the other end that we’re not causing mist and other things in hot showers or in the delivery of hot water to people that they inhale it. You can prevent all that is known. This is a novel coronavirus today. This is not Legionnaires. And that novel coronavirus means that no matter what we do, and it’s a little bit the answer I gave to Eric as well, no matter what we do, even if we put all the mitigations in the world and sometimes because of the prevalence of the disease because we don’t exactly know everything about it, it’s not preventable for everybody. And so again, I want to make sure that we do everything we can, and learn from the experience and not hide anything, and be as transparent as possible so that we can get better.