Tazewell County Health Dept. leaders working with long term care facilities after four COVID-19 outbreaks

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TAZEWELL COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — On Monday, The Tazewell County Health Department reported 5 residents of long term care facilities died from COVID-19.

Four of the residents lived in long term care facilities that the health department classified as experiencing an outbreak. That means at least two people in close contact contracted the virus.

“An outbreak is defined by two cases that are epi-linked, so they’ve had to have some contact with each other so that we know there’s been in that facility, two cases that have been linked together,” said Sara Sparkman, the communications manager for the health department.

The cases were at Villas of Hollybrook in Pekin, Generations at Riverview in East Peoria, Timber Creek in Pekin, and Aperion Morton Villa.

Sparkman said long term care facilities are more susceptible to outbreaks and cases because residents require more care.

“We have been working since the pandemic began with our long term care facilities, so we have a person who is in constant contact when there’s an outbreak in a long term care facility,” said Sparkman.

She said the health department is working with the facilities and making sure staff is prepared.

“As soon as they have a confirmed case, they are asked to isolate that case. A lot of facilities have a COVID wing, so they put them in a special area of the long term care facility. That’s one of the most important things, to get them isolated, make sure the staff is very much prepared and has the protective equipment that they need,” said Sparkman.

A spokesperson for Generations at Riverview said the facility continues to follow state protocol and tests residents and staff weekly.

He said the COVID-19 positive resident was asymptomatic and transferred to a separate, off-campus COVID-19 unit where they eventually passed away. He said there are currently no residents who have tested positive and per protocol, outdoor visits to the facility will stop for 28 days after the case.

Another long term care facility resident, a male in his 90s at Reflections Memory Care in Washington, also died over the weekend. That facility is not reporting an outbreak.

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