Report: Long-term care facilities make up 44 percent of Illinois’ COVID-19 deaths
Forty-four percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Illinois have come from long-term care facilities, according to data released over the weekend by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
There have been at least 1,082 deaths of residents or workers at such facilities, as of Friday. At that time, there was a total of 2,457 reported deaths in Illinois.
At least 7,542 residents or workers have tested positive for the virus at 351 facilities in 31 counties, including 187 facilities in Cook County.
The increase comes as Gov. JB Pritzker announced last week an effort to boost testing capacity at long-term care facilities, as well as a plan to send nurses to sites to help support staff.
Friday also saw the expiration of a three-year contract between SEIU Healthcare and the Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities, an organization of nursing home and long-term care facility owners.
After previously announcing plans to strike at 40 nursing homes on May 8, the union said Friday that workers at additional facilities have given notice to strike, bringing the total to 64 locations. The strike is an effort to “call for the essential resources, practices and information needed to help safeguard workers, residents and entire communities during this time of crisis.”
The association, which represents nearly 100 long-term care facilities in Illinois, said in a statement Friday that its latest proposed one-year contract now offers a starting wage for certified nursing assistants of more than $15 per hour. The offer also includes additional pay for workers in COVID-19 units, as well as wage increases for other staff.
“We have created an environment of safety and security for our residents and our employees and we strongly object to any claims that workers do not have necessary PPE,” Bob Molitor, an association board member and CEO of Alden Network, said in a statement. “During this global health and fiscal crisis, we hope reasonable heads will prevail so our vulnerable elderly are not abandoned during their greatest hour of need.”
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