Coronavirus cluster breaks out in senior living facility


TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — More than half of the seniors living in the Rolling Meadows Senior Living Facility have the Coronavirus, according to the Christian County Public Health Department.

Two of the 12 sick patients are hospitalized. One is in stable condition in Taylorville’s Memorial Health System. The other is in intensive care in Springfield’s Memorial Hospital.

The entire senior living facility, home to 22 residents who each live on their own, is now under a mandatory quarantine. A police barricade block the road leading into the senior home. A nurse at the Christian County Public Health Department is checking each patient in their rooms to monitor for symptoms. Mayor Bruce Barry offered his services to deliver groceries or other necessary supplies to the residents while they remain under lockdown.

Illinois’ Director of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, said people living in close quarters, such as inmates in prison or seniors in a living center, can often be most at risk for rapid transmission.

“Those who are incarcerated obviously live and work and eat and sleep and study and recreate all within that same environment, heightening the chance for COVID-19 to spread really quickly,” Ezike said during a daily press briefing in Chicago.

Christian County Department of Public Health Director Denise Larson told reporters in a press call on Monday afternoon that a cleaning company would scrub down surfaces and perform a deep cleaning of the common areas, and said her staff continues to keep a close eye on the symptoms of the other residents while they live under lock down.

Larson said the first test was conducted one week ago on Monday. When the results came back late last Wednesday night, she realized there may have been a connection to a second positive case of COVID-19 in the county.

“We later found out after a second person tested positive, there was a link through a church,” Larson said.

The first patient to test positive for COVID-19 in the senior home had attended a church service at the Crossroads Apostolic Ministries where another sick patient had also attended.

Once Larson’s office received the positive test result for the first patient in the senior home, the Illinois Department of Public Health authorized a broader round of testing at a state laboratory to evaluate the rest of the residents. Those results came back late on Saturday night.

The quarantine will last until at least April 10th, although the county could extend the lock down if more residents start to show symptoms.

The living facility is not a medical site. While residents do have access to a public health nurse, they would have to be transported to an area hospital if their conditions worsened.

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