COVID-19 outbreak at Illinois Veterans Home in LaSalle leaves 7 dead, 140 sick

4 COVID-19 deaths reported this week alone, more than 140 other residents & staff infected
LASALLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Seven people have died in a COVID-19 outbreak at an Illinois veterans' home. Four deaths at the La Salle Veterans Home have been reported this week alone, and more than 140 other residents and staff are infected.

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As coronavirus spreads throughout the state, Gov. Pritzker said it's challenging to stop it from getting inside veterans homes, but they're doing the best they can to protect the residents of these facilities.

"I want to remind everybody how deadly this virus is. It hasn't abated, it hasn't changed, it's out there," Pritzker said. "And no matter what we do, there is a level of risk, and it is especially risky frankly, for those who are seniors, people who are over 60 as the age goes up, so does the risk.

Currently, there are 72 residents and 72 employees battling the virus at the facility. Gov. Pritzker said veterans' homes across the state have done an outstanding job keeping veterans safe during the pandemic under tough conditions.

"You can't 100% keep everybody safe in this environment," Gov. Pritzker said. "Especially when our communities, our mayors, our City Councils or county boards and county chairs aren't living up to the mitigations, they're not following or enforcing mitigations in many parts of the state."

Illinois Veterans Home LaSalle has been conducting health screenings of staff and residents, maintaining social distancing practices, wearing face coverings and has intensified cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

"I did put that on idva: how did this happen so quickly if these protocols are in place?" said State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, a veteran herself who chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee. "We need to take care of our veterans. They served us and we need to to serve them and make sure they are safe and they are in safe environment."

Kifowit said she's going to be looking at funding for renovations at veterans homes to improve safety. Many are in older buildings, she said.
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