PARK FOREST, Ill. — Over 50 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths related to the virus were reported at a south suburban facility Friday.
Park Forest Mayor Jonathan Vanderbilt confirmed to WGN News that two residents of the Elisabeth Ludeman Developmental Center in Park Forest have died. The two men, ages 50 and 67, both died at hospitals this week.
“Last week the fire department saw we were getting a large number of cases” he said. “We declared a local state of emergency.”
Vanderbilt said the cluster is of concern. Many of the developmentally disabled residents have underlying health issues and the cases at the center account for nearly half of all Park Forest’s COVID-19 cases.
Thirty-eight residents and 14 staff have tested positive. There are 353 residents who live on the 60 acre property. At least four of the group homes are in isolation and the facility has taken further steps to try to protect residents and staff.
“They are serving meals to residents inside of their apartments,” Vanderbilt said. “They are not coming out congregating for laundry or cooking. They are in a self-quarantine for the entire property.”
Vanderbilt said the facility is in dire need of PPE such as surgical masks, gowns and disposable stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs.
Elisabeth Ludeman Developmental Center is the second largest developmental center out of seven in Illinois.
The story is the same at a similar facility in Centralia, the Warren G Murray Developmental Center, where six staff members and 17 residents have tested positive.
At his daily briefing Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker said the state is seeing a glimmer of hope in flattening the curve in Illinois, but is not out of the woods yet.
“Keep in mind our case number and death toll are still growing and thus our fight must continue,” he said. “And the data will show those numbers are growing more slowly and that’s a very good thing.”
Anyone interested in donating PPE to the Ludeman Center in Park Forest can call 708-283-3000. Press 3 to donate.