North Riverside nursing home hasn't had a single case of COVID-19

NORTH RIVERSIDE, Ill. (WLS) -- There has not been a single case of COVID-19 among residents at a nursing home in the western suburbs.

Caledonia Nursing Home in North Riverside shared how they are successfully managing this pandemic.

Darlene Downs, a resident at Caledonia Senior Living, tries to get outside for walks every day. After all, it's the only way the 89-year-old has been able to see her family during the pandemic.

"Thank god for technology," Downs said. "Telephoning is wonderful but Zoom is even better."

"I know it's been hard on my mom to not go out and do the stuff she wants to do," said Maggie Downs, her daughter.

While's it tough for nursing home residents and their families to stay vigilant, Caledonia said operating under the philosophy of overreacting, rather than underreacting, to the virus has paid off. Not one resident has tested positive for COVID-19.

"We are in the position we are in because of three things working together: luck, grace of a higher power and the vigilance of our staff," Caledonia president Gus Noble said.

Noble said his staff have made commitments to be vigilant in their personal lives to keep the residents safe.

Caledonia also has been aggressive about testing early on. Since the beginning of May, every resident and staff member gets tested at least once a week.

And for the handful of workers who have tested positive, Caledonia has self-imposed restrictions greater than those required from the state.

"We chose to take the community in a lockdown for two weeks, which required residents to shelter in place in their own rooms," Noble said.

The long term care facility is nestled among a forest preserve in North Riverside. It is operated by the 175-year-old non-profit Chicago Scots. Its values are rooted in family and community.

"I know everyone who has taken care of my mom treats her like they would own family members," Maggie Downs said.

With a few more months to go of patience and vigilance, family members are convinced that personal care is part of Caledonia's success in keeping their residents COVID free.
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