Nursing homes begin outdoor visits as COVID-19 deaths decline
As the tally of coronavirus deaths in long-term care facilities decline statewide, some nursing homes in Glenview and Northbrook have started outdoor visits reuniting residents with their families.
Roughly 150 visitors have returned to Glenview Terrace since June 23, but only in outdoor settings under strict state health department guidelines.
The restrictions require families to make an appointment, wear facial coverings and practice social distancing during visits in supervised, outdoor areas. Glenview Terrace also is limiting visits -- as long as 30 minutes on an outdoor patio -- to twice a week per resident.
"Families are very excited to finally be able to visit their loved ones. The only negative responses were due to the limitations," Glenview Terrace Administrator Allen Hollander said via email. "It's hard to finally see your loved one and not be able to touch or hug them."
Public health data, meanwhile, hold encouraging signs for nursing homes recovering from the worst of the crisis.
The state has recorded at least 3,772 COVID-19 deaths connected to long-term care facilities as of June 26.
But the count of new deaths rose by 123 from the week prior, a dramatic drop from late April. At that time, the number of residents and staff dying from one week to the next nearly doubled to 625.
At least 22,170 laboratory-confirmed cases are now tied to nursing homes, assisted-living communities and other facilities, according to the latest figures.
In many instances, the weekly listing from the Illinois Department of Public Health conflicts with the numbers publicized by facilities. Elder care centers first report data to their local health departments, which in turn report to the state.
The state's database reflects 192 total cases and 35 deaths at Glenview Terrace since March, but the facility's records count 188 cases and 24 deaths, Hollander said.
"We are working with our local health department to see how they are gathering this information," he said.
There are no current active cases for residents and staff at the Greenwood Road campus, which is testing on a weekly basis.
"Glenview Terrace is pretty ahead of the game already completing our 6th round of widespread testing this week," Hollander wrote Tuesday. "The frequency of testing will adjust once 14 days have passed without any new onsets."
Hollander said it wasn't an infection control issue that led to rising numbers during the pandemic, but factors related to the facility's size and a push for continued testing.
Glenview Terrace has 314 beds and more than 400 employees, while the average nursing facility has 129 beds, according to Hollander.
"Because of our larger size and volume, we experienced more exposure than average," he said.
Below is a look at the state's tallies for Glenview and Northbrook facilities, with the number of cases followed by the number of deaths:
Abington of Glenview 7 1
Atria Glenview 4 0
Belmont Village of Glenview 21 4
Brandel Care Center 10 0
Brookdale Northbrook 4 3
Citadel of Northbrook 24 2
Elevate Care Northbrook 68 14
Emerald Place Memory Care 10 2
Glenview Terrace 192 35
Lake Cook Rehab & Healthcare 41 11
Northbrook Inn Memory Care 18 9
North Shore Place 10 0
Presence Maryhaven 13 4
The Grove of Northbrook 10 0
Vi at the Glen 26 4