6 people transported from Fox Lake nursing home for COVID-19 symptoms

Chicago News

FOX LAKE, Ill. — Six people were transported from a nursing home to a local hospital for exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms in Fox Lake, according to fire officials.

Ambulances from Grayslake, Fox Lake, Round Lake, Lake Villa and Spring Grove were all used to transport the patients.

All of the patients transported were reported to be in stable condition. Officials said this is the largest transport of COVID-19 patients since the start of the pandemic.

Beatriz Banda was a nurse at the facility until three weeks ago, when she says she quit because of the working conditions. She said the nursing home needs to be held accountable.

 “I experienced a very unsafe environment,” Banda said.

Often the only nurse for 30 or 40 people during the pandemic, Banda added.  The company that runs the facility – Charter Senior Living – says part of the pandemic protocol is that employees and visitors are screened for the virus when they arrive. Beatriz says there are holes in that plan.

“The computer that is supposed to be taking your temperature, most of the time it wasn’t working and then we report it, so you’re not getting an accurate reading,” Banda said. “And most of us that started to feel sick, we were reporting it to management, and we were still required to show up for work.”

Banda says she got Covid last year and spent 30 days in the hospital. She believes she caught Covid at The Cottage of Fox Lake.

“That was scary,” Banda said.

One current employee, who did not wish to be identified due to fear of retaliation, tells WGN News she’s also scared.

“We are lacking gloves, PPE,” the current employee said. “My concern is the residents and if we don’t have the supplies or the support, we can’t take care of the residents properly.”

Charter Senior Living, who owns The Cottage of Fox Lake, issued the following statement:

“The Cottages of Fox Lake Assisted Living community focuses on health and safety of each resident as a top priority. The Cottages of Fox Lake follows strict infection control practices for residents and staff following CDC, IDPH and local health department guidelines. The community is collaboratively working with the health department and physician by following community COVID-19 protocols for the overall health and safety of the community.

For the safety of our residents and per physician’s orders, we sent six residents with mild symptoms to the hospital to receive non-urgent monoclonal antibody treatment only. The treatment was for the overall health benefit of the residents. Five of the residents have returned and are doing well and resting comfortably in their apartments. Families have been notified and our community physician continues to monitor closely.

Charter Senior Living practices COVID safety for all their residents, families and staff. All visitors and staff are pre-screened for COVID-19 when they arrive at the community through our Accushield system that takes your temperature and provides a questionnaire before entering our community. Charter Senior Living maintains the highest standards of safety protocols for our residents, staff and community as directed by the CDC and the IDPH. We continue to monitor and react to developments regarding COVID-19 to keep our residents safe.

We are thankful for our dedicated community physician and staff who are continually providing care for our residents during this time.”

 “You gotta take care of each other,” Banda says, “like these are our families, these residents are our families.”

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