The Illinois Veterans’ Home at Quincy is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases among its veterans and staff, according to a news release.
Based on robust rapid testing and the support of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) laboratories, in quick succession the Department identified 16 residents and 10 staff positive for COVID-19. Most of the positive residents are presenting with mild symptoms. However, in the last several days, four veterans were transported to the emergency department out of an abundance of caution. Two veterans remain hospitalized for conditions unrelated to COVID-19 symptoms, the release says.
All the residents who tested positive have been moved to the negative pressure isolation unit and are being closely monitored and cared for by dedicated Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) personnel. All positive residents have received at least two doses of the vaccine, and 11 of the 16 veterans are up to date with their boosters. A staff physician is assessing residents’ need for anti-viral post exposure medication. Quincy staff are in close communication with the families and loved ones of the residents in the isolation unit.
“Our top priority remains the health and safety of our military veterans and the dedicated IDVA staff who care for them,” said IDVA Director Terry Prince. “The Department continues to adhere to current regulations and is receiving assistance from the local health department and the IDPH. We are grateful to our team for remaining highly vigilant for signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and for responding swiftly, appropriately, and professionally to any potential cases.”
Protocols include continuing daily health screenings of our veterans, rapid COVID-19 testing of staff at shift change and regular testing of residents, use of N-95 respirator masks with eye protection, maintaining social-distancing practices, using gloves and gowns, and intensified cleaning and disinfection protocols. During an outbreak, residents are encouraged to stay in their rooms to minimize movement within the facility. IDPH and the Department’s Infection Control Specialist have been on site, working with the Quincy team to ensure staff compliance with our infection control directives, COVID testing, and care of our veterans.
Communal dining and activities have been curtailed in the affected areas until the outbreak ends. Activities and social services staff continue to provide leisure activities, in accordance with social distancing practices, to care for the psychosocial wellbeing of our veterans. Visitation is allowed to continue, per CDC guidelines however, families have been notified that we are in outbreak status and that rescheduling visitation should be considered.