“Residents in nursing homes are our most vulnerable population and we are doing everything we can to protect them," IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. "We may see cases in other long-term care facilities, which is why it is so important that we all do our part to reduce possible exposure in the community to those who go in and out of these facilities as they provide care to residents.”
Of those sickened at the facility, two remain hospitalized while the conditions of the others have not yet been made public, FOX32 reported.
The announcement was made at a press conference with Governor JB Pritzker and state officials, who confirmed the first death from COVID-19 in Illinois – a Chicago woman in her 60s.
"I am deeply saddened by the news that we've dreaded since the earliest days of this outbreak: the first COVID-19 related death in Illinois," Pritzker said in a statement. "All of Illinois stands with this patient's family and loved ones in mourning her loss and honoring her memory. May her memory be a blessing. There are going to be moments during the next few weeks and months when this burden feels like it is more than we can bear – this is one of those moments, but we will get through this together.”
In the wake of the cluster at the long-term care facility, Illinois officials said have released updated guidance for nursing homes.
Besides canceling all group activities and communal dining, officials have restricted all visitation except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life residents. Illinois officials have also told nursing homes to restrict all volunteers and non-essential health care personnel.
Nursing homes are also implementing active screening of residents and health care personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms
The IDPH is reporting 160 COVID-19 cases in 15 counties in Illinois, sickening people between the ages of 9 to 91.
Chicago’s health commissioner said Tuesday that the numbers are expected to keep rising.
“I suspect we are going to see a lot more cases in the days to come because we are seeing a lot more testing,” said Dr. Allison Arwady. “That is a good thing.”