CHICAGO — Coronavirus in Illinois has hit long-term care facilities hard.
The CDC said a third of all coronavirus deaths in the country have been tied to long-term care facilities. In Illinois, 46 percent of coronavirus deaths can be traced back to a care facility.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday there would be increased testing at long-term facilities.
There have been more than 150 reported deaths in the Symphony Care Network. But Wednesday they announced there have also been over 200 recoveries, including 48 at its Joliet facility and over 100 at it’s South Shore location.
Symphony of Joliet reported 24 patients and two staff members deaths. Wednesday it reported only one COVID-19-positive patient.
Dr. Alexander Stemer is the co-chair of Symphony’s COVID-19 task force. He was hired in April to help address the rampant spread of the virus.
“We’ll use everything that we have to get this under control,” he said.
He said the network’s new “hot spot” testing unit relies heavily on testing and isolating positive patients in a unit with a staff that only takes care of them.
“So the factor of staff being a spreader is ended,” he said.
Last month, Symphony officials traced the deadly Joliet outbreak back to a staff member who unknowingly infected residents when he built and installed tables to allow residents to eat in their rooms.
While federal and state officials have prioritize testing in nursing homes and long term care facilities, Gov. Pritzker said there is a shortage of tests.
Symphony said it went out on its own and purchased a set of rapid testing instruments.
But challenges still remain including a lack of N95 masks to protect workers.
“They gets masks and face shields and goggles. And they get gloves,” Stemer said. “Except we don’t have N95 masks.”
Stemer said the N95 masks provide the best protection but they are also the hardest to find.
Symphony Care Network reports the following numbers as of May, 13, 2020.
Symphony at Aria
Current Cases: 3
Symphony at Midway
Current Cases: 111
Symphony of Bronzeville
Current Cases: 9
Symphony of Chicago West
Current Cases: 21
Symphony of Crestwood
Current Cases: 7
Symphony of Evanston
Current Cases: 7
Symphony of Lincoln Park
Current Cases: 45
Symphony of Morgan Park
Current Cases: 115
Symphony of South Shore
Current Cases: 29
Symphony of Orchard Valley
Current Cases: 49
Symphony of Buffalo Grove
Current Cases: 0