Carol Stream senior living campus resident dies from COVID-19; 8 others infected
A resident of a Carol Stream senior living community has died after contracting the coronavirus, adding to the growing toll on nursing homes and other facilities caring for the elderly.
Eight residents and an employee of Windsor Park have tested positive for the virus. The cases have been limited to the 72-bed skilled nursing section of the campus along North Avenue.
The woman who died was initially hospitalized for unrelated, existing health issues and discharged back to Windsor Park for skilled nursing care. The woman, who was in her 90s, returned to the hospital last week as her underlying conditions worsened and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, spokesman Randy Eilts said Wednesday.
As nursing homes across the country become virus hot spots, operators are facing limited testing availability and shortages of protective gear for medical workers. 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.
"As you are aware, the coronavirus situation is rapidly changing across our nation and right here at home," Windsor Park Executive Director Ben Stevens said in a letter to residents and families. "We continue to monitor all residents and employees who exhibit any symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, and, if necessary, ask that they reach out to their personal physicians for testing and treatment."
A Willowbrook nursing home linked to six COVID-19 deaths remains the hardest-hit facility in DuPage County. The health department has reported a total of 49 people, including 33 residents and 16 staff members, have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Health officials have said all residents and staff members at the 150-bed facility in Willowbrook have been tested.
Some families also have called for widespread testing at Windsor Park, a 60-acre community operated by Skokie-based Covenant Living.
"We are working closely with our county department of health, IDPH and medical director who give guidance on widespread testing," Eilts said in written responses to questions. "At this point, the decision for testing has only been for COVID-19 symptomatic residents. Any staff who have exhibited symptoms have been encouraged to seek medical care and advisement on testing."
The employee sickened by the virus is now recuperating in self-isolation at home. As of Wednesday, a few residents who have exhibited symptoms are under the supervision of medical professionals to determine if testing is required, Eilts said.
All residents and employees who have reported symptoms have been told to self-isolate, he said.
The health department has not indicated how the virus could have been introduced to Windsor Park.
A recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment, staff members working with symptoms and staff members working at multiple facilities helped fuel a devastating outbreak in nine Seattle nursing homes.
Covenant Living currently has employees who work at more than one facility, Eilts said earlier this week.
"No local health authority has recommended this practice stop in an effort to ensure adequate staffing," Eilts wrote in a written response to questions. "We are following the strict protocols by CMS and CDC for infection control standards."
In addition to visitor restrictions, Covenant Living is screening all employees reporting to work within its residential, assisted living and skilled nursing settings. Healthcare workers in skilled nursing are checked four times a day with a temperature reading and a health assessment.
Eilts said administrators also "are in a good place with PPE supplies" as they await additional shipments.