2 COVID-19 deaths, 11 other cases at Carol Stream senior campus

A coronavirus outbreak at a Carol Stream senior living campus has claimed two lives and sickened nearly a dozen others as some family members become increasingly concerned with the pace of testing.

Covenant Living at Windsor Park reported that 11 residents and two skilled nursing employees tested positive for the virus.

The two residents who died after contracting COVID-19 - a woman in her 90s and a 100-year-old - both had underlying health conditions, Executive Director Ben Stevens said in letters to families.

The outbreak originally was limited to the 72-bed skilled nursing section of the North Avenue campus, but a new case has surfaced in the assisted-living area.

As nursing homes across the country become hot spots, operators are struggling with limited testing availability and shortages of healthy employees. More than 400 long-term care facilities in the U.S. have reported at least one COVID-19 case, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Windsor Park has scaled up recruitment of nurses, nursing assistants and other health care workers. Operators are trying to stem the virus spread with twice-daily disinfection cleanings in isolation rooms, a daily review of infection control protocols for every shift, and protective equipment training for all nursing, housekeeping and dining shifts. All health care workers are required to wear masks.

But some families are calling for health officials to boost testing to prevent the kind of outbreak that devastated a Seattle-area nursing home linked to at least 37 deaths.

"I'm sure Covenant is doing everything they can right now and that this is a trying time. The fact is that the state of Illinois has to step up and prioritize testing for at-risk communities," said Stan Lemon, whose father is a Windsor Park resident. "They need to work with Covenant and get every staff member and every resident tested."

All residents and staff members have been tested at the hardest-hit nursing home in DuPage County. The Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook, a 150-bed facility associated with 50 COVID-19 cases, has suffered seven deaths, health officials said.

But at Windsor Park, testing has been recommended by the county health department only for residents with symptoms.

"These are vulnerable populations, clustered together, a situation which we know this virus thrives on," Lemon said in an email. "We know this virus spreads in asymptomatic people, so until the whole community there is tested, I'm not surprised when Covenant notifies us saying they've identified more cases."

Carol Stream senior living community has 7 cases of COVID-19

Carol Stream senior living campus resident dies from COVID-19; 8 others infected

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