Columns | Northwest Herald

Eye On Illinois: Manteno vets home outbreak hopefully already under control

Only 90 miles separate the Illinois Veterans homes in La Salle and Manteno, but a more impactful gap may be the 20 months between when COVID-19 arrived at the former and its recent appearance at the latter.

Much has and will be written about the November 2020 outbreak in La Salle that infected more than 100 residents and staff and killed 36 residents. It was impossible to ignore those echoes Wednesday when processing reports of 16 infected residents at Manteno. One asymptomatic resident died Tuesday in hospice care.

According to Capitol News Illinois, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs said a broad testing protocol went into place after one positive case. Positives were in double digits by Monday. COVID-19 struck La Salle pre-vaccines – and apparently without rigorous safety protocol, per Auditor General findings – but all the Manteno residents who tested positive have been fully vaccinated. All but one were current on boosters.

Also unlike La Salle, the Manteno staff is armed with intravenous and orally administered anti-viral medications. They’ve moved those who tested positive to an isolation unit. And, showing at least some lessons have been learned, Manteno staff notified the Illinois Department of Public Health in the hours after seeing all the positive results. It took IDPH 11 days to visit La Salle after its first reported cases.

Getting things right in Manteno wouldn’t excuse the fatal errors in La Salle. A less terrible outcome here is no cause for celebration, only a less grim reminder that vigilance and communication are vital when protecting those in the state’s care.

HAVE YOUR SAY: In other post-pandemic news, the state Supreme Court is considering the future of remote proceedings throughout Illinois, writing they “constitute a boon not only to self-represented litigants but also attorneys and other court participants who have reaped numerous benefits. Remote hearings have brought greater party participation, fewer defaults and failures to appear and enhanced case management and scheduling.”

To weigh in on court appearances through phone or videoconference, visit for a Remote Proceedings Task Force survey open through June 23.

TERM LIMITS? On Wednesday, St. Louis area state Sen. Rachelle Crowe formally resigned the legislative seat she’s held since 2019 to become U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. Her departure prompted a John Amdor tweet thread updating the General Assembly seniority tally he’s kept since 2017.

The trends show significant turnover among Senate Democrats while House Republican “members are starting to build seniority.” But three of the most veteran Senate Democrats are retiring, as are five of the top 10 House Republicans.

Amdor encourages remembering the majority of state lawmakers “have served for fewer than five years and react accordingly when people squawk about term limits.”

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at

Scott Holland

Scott T. Holland

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media Illinois. Follow him on Twitter at @sth749. He can be reached at