Calls grow to protect seniors as COVID-19 outbreaks increase at nursing homes

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WESTCHESTER, Ill. — Community activists are calling for emergency action to protect seniors as the number of COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes increase.

A number of activists are expected Wednesday morning to launch an effort they’re calling “Save Our Seniors.”

More than 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Illinois have been at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Westchester Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has a total of 47 cases and 12 deaths. Other outbreaks at nursing homes in Illinois have claimed well over 1,000 lives.

Local activists are calling on the state to come up with a crisis management plan.

On Tuesday, the town of Cicero took City View Multicare Center to court, seeking to shut it down. There have been nine deaths at the facility, and more than 200 confirmed cases.

Families and town officials claim the operators of City View have failed to adequately protect patients and employees from the pandemic.

During the court hearing conducted on Zoom, the judge ordered a state inspection of City View by the end of Thursday before all parties reconvene again virtually on Friday.

Cicero is demanding stronger action by Gov. JB Pritzker. When asked about City View on Tuesday, he noted that most nursing homes are privately owned and they are subject to liability when they fail to do the right thing.

Activists coming to Westchester Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday are demanding increases state oversight and additional support for employees on the frontline.

“It’s not just this facility. It’s nursing home across the county, it’s nursing homes across the state that have to step up and do a much better job,” said Brandon Johnson, Cook County Board of Commissioners.

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