17 sick staff (but no sick veterans) at La Salle Veterans Home

Rezin said oversight, communications are much improved

The wave of COVID-19 has reached the Illinois Veterans Home at La Salle, with 17 positive staff members out with COVID-19 but, as of Tuesday, no sick veterans.

On Friday, a notification was released to families and guardians reporting zero additional cases among residents at the facility, meaning the running total stands at 120 since the start of the pandemic. There were, however, additional positive tests among the staff bringing the running total to 184 (with 164 recovered) since the start of the pandemic.

“All of the recent positives have been related to community spread and we have not had any uncontrolled spread of coronavirus within the facility,” the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs said in a Tuesday statement. “We continue to communicate with families on the status of positive cases in the home.”

The statement further noted the La Salle facility continues to follow strict guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Illinois Department of Public Health for testing, quarantining, and infection prevention.

(Public information about the status of all of IDVA’s Veterans’ Homes is available on the website at https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/services%20benefits/homes/Pages/Notifications.aspx.)

State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) said she’s watching the current spate of infections closely, but to date she has been pleased with how swiftly the agency now has responded to her concerns and those of her constituents.

“After a horrible three years of fatal mismanagement by the Pritzker Administration with catastrophic consequences, I am greatly relieved it seems we now have a capable director to protect these heroes,” Rezin said. “I’d renew the call to pass my series of bills, changing the policies and procedures of IDPH and IDVA to ensure this tragedy can never happen again.”

In November 2020, the veterans home had an outbreak of 109 cases among residents, which resulted in 36 resident deaths. Additionally, there were 116 cases among employees there. The outbreak brought scrutiny to the veterans home from committees within the General Assembly. The head of the state’s veterans administration had resigned and the administrator of the La Salle facility was removed from her post.