May 23, 2024
Coronavirus | Daily Chronicle

Coronavirus | Daily Chronicle

17 possible COVID-19 exposures at DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center. No tests for 12 days. Why? Logistics, county says.

County administrator talks COVID-19 testing at DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center

The DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center Wednesday, June 19.

Despite a letter saying residents would be tested five days after a May 15 case of the novel coronavirus at DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center, tests weren’t administered until Tuesday, 12 days later, due to logistical problems, said DeKalb County Administrator Gary Hanson.

"As I understood it we were administering it, and the people administering have to be trained in how to do it right," Hanson said. "And then of course you come up on the holiday weekend."

Steve Duchene, administrator for the rehab and nursing center, did not return multiple requests for comment.

Hanson said about 98% of the facility's residents and 75% of staff were tested for COVID-19 Tuesday, May 26, and testing ran from about 5 a.m. until 2 p.m. Results will take about 48 hours he said. To date, only one case, in a staff member, has been reported at the facility.

"Some residents could not be tested," Hanson said. "I'm not sure of all the issues but I think it was maybe health. It is a swab up the nose. Plus we couldn't reach all staff because not everybody works on a given day."

In a letter shared with the Daily Chronicle, which was sent to the nursing home residents and their families dated May 18 and signed by Duchene, the facility reported that 17 residents were potentially exposed to an employee that had tested positive for COVID-19 two days earlier.

The letter says the employee was put on home isolation immediately.

"Seventeen residents that were potentially exposed were placed on transmission-based precautions," the letter from Duchene, sent May 18, states. "We continue to closely monitor these residents. As of this morning, all are in stable condition."

Duchene's letter states that on Saturday, May 16, a team of five people from the Illinois Department of Public Health's surveillance staff came to the center to "review its policies and procedures, observe practices, review residents care, count our personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies and interview staff members."

The letter said the facility planned to do the testing on May 20, and the nasal swabs would be provided by the IDPH. All negative tests were to be re-tested with 72-96 hours.

Instead, the testing was not done until May 26, nearly two weeks after the first case was confirmed.

No further cases at the facility have been reported on the DeKalb County Health Department website, which began listing nursing home cases earlier this week.

Pine Acres Rehab and Living Center has since had nine cases of the virus.

At the time of the May 15 announcement, Lisa Gonzalez, DeKalb County public health administrator, said DeKalb Rehab and Nursing Center has been very proactive in doing its best to contain the virus.

"The nursing home has done an amazing job since day one in following the guidance so when this situation happened they were proactive in the approach," Gonzalez said. "They looked right away at the contact the case had with residents, then putting those residents in quarantine and monitoring them closely."

When asked for further comment Wednesday, Gonzalez deferred to the longterm care facilities.

“We will be providing a daily update of case counts associated with [longterm care] as these numbers come to us through our electronic reporting system,” she said. “As it relates to the facility’s plan for mitigation, I would ask that you communicate with the facilities to get that information.”

Eddie Carifio

Eddie Carifio

Daily Chronicle sports editor since 2014. NIU beat writer. DeKalb, Sycamore, Kaneland, Genoa-Kingston, Indian Creek, Hiawatha and Hinckley-Big Rock coverage as well.