CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than 600 long-term care residents have died from the COVID-19 this week statewide, the largest weekly increase on record.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 7,500 deaths in Illinois long-term care facilities. That's just over half of all of the COVID-19 deaths in Illinois.
In Chicago, the Admiral at the Lake will soon turn its "gathering room" into a vaccination room. The Edgewater long-term care facility is in the planning stages of vaccinating its community.
"We are doing as much of the legwork in advance so once we know what we are receiving, we can move as quickly as possible," CEO Nadia Geigler said.
To vaccinate its 350 residents and 200 employees, The Admiral has requested 600 doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The facility will be working directly with Walgreens. The Deerfield-based company and CVS are providing vaccinations to long-term care facilities around the country.
Some started Friday in Ohio and Florida. Vaccinations at Illinois facilities are tentatively expected to begin the week of Dec. 28.
"They'll be giving us the clinic dates more than we are able to choose, that's fine, we just want to get it as soon as we can," said Mark Dubovick, health services administrator at Admiral at the Lake.
Dubovick said the skilled nursing and assisted living residents will be first on the list. Vaccines will be given in their rooms. Everyone else, including staff, will come to the gathering room. Besides logistics, educating and convincing staff and residents to take the vaccine is another hurdle.
"There is slightly less than half who are willing to take it right away," resident association president Toni Smith said.
Smith will take it. She is confident at least 80 percent of the residents will end up taking the vaccine as well.
"I think everyone is anticipating the ability to have more freedom," Smith said.
And as soon as most residents and staff are vaccinated, they hope government will ease up on its guidance and regulations and allow families to come visit their loved ones again as soon as possible.
Chicago long-term care facility prepares for Walgreens vaccines to arrive
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