Note: These numbers have been updated as of May 12, 2020.
With elderly residents and close living quarters, nursing homes are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. As the coronavirus crisis continues to develop in Illinois, numbers are emerging showing that nursing homes account for about 50% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. That number is not surprising when you consider that 410 nursing homes in the state have been affected by the virus. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, recognized that nursing homes would be vulnerable back in a March 12 statement, during which she prioritized restricting visits to nursing homes as a method of limiting the spread of coronavirus.
Despite Illinois banning the majority of visitors at nursing homes, the latest infection reports are still showing coronavirus on the rise in senior facilities. Daily news reports and infection data highlight the widespread problem of COVID-19 infections in Illinois nursing homes. Recently released data from the Illinois Department of Public Health shows that over 14,882 cases of coronavirus and 2400 deaths are linked to nursing homes in the state and the numbers continue to grow. Hardest hit has been Cook County, which has reported 1350 nursing home-related deaths and multiple nursing homes with serious outbreaks. At least four other Illinois counties–including Will, DuPage, Lake, and Kane– have reported 500 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in long-term assisted care facilities.