Windsor Park in Carol Stream sees uptick in COVID-19 infections, forcing restrictions
Nearly four dozen residents of a Carol Stream senior living campus contracted COVID-19 in recent weeks, forcing operators to reimpose the kind of restrictions not seen since earlier in the pandemic.
As of Aug. 6, 44 residents and six employees of Covenant Living's Windsor Park in Carol Stream have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 23.
All 44 are independent living residents "who are very frequently out and about in the greater community," said Randy Eilts, a spokesman for Skokie-based Covenant Living. "And it is difficult to find any single cause of COVID cases from these active residents."
Seven of the 44 are considered active cases, Eilts said. None have died.
"We are fortunate that while some of those who've tested positive are experiencing symptoms, many are asymptomatic," Eilts said.
All employees also are back at work except for one who returns Thursday, Eilts said.
Eilts on Wednesday said Windsor Park is not seeing cases in its health care settings. But the campus along North Avenue has temporarily halted visits to skilled nursing and assisted living areas, except for compassionate reasons.
Residents are required to wear masks outside their apartments. The retirement community also has implemented meal delivery services and limited group activities.
He would not say how many were breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated individuals. Citing privacy reasons, Windsor Park will not disclose if the residents were vaccinated.
Recent federal data showed more than 90% of Windsor Park residents are fully vaccinated, compared with roughly 78% of employees.
"Covenant Living continues to offer routine on-site vaccination clinics for employees and is reviewing vaccine mandates as are other senior living organizations," Eilts said.
Across Illinois, nursing home infections and deaths plummeted with the rollout of vaccines. But vaccination rates among employees of long-term care facilities lag behind those of residents, mirroring a trend across the nursing home industry.
Advocates have renewed calls for operators to mandate vaccinations among their employees in an effort to combat the threat of the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.
Nearly 85% of residents in long-term care facilities in Illinois are inoculated, but just 59.7% of staff have completed vaccinations, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week mandated vaccinations for state employees who work at long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, effective Oct. 4.
But a coalition of national medical groups in July urged all health care and long-term care employers to require workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
"As we move towards full FDA approval of the currently available vaccines, all health care workers should get vaccinated for their own health, and to protect their colleagues, families, residents of long-term care facilities and patients," read a joint statement from 57 organizations, including the American Medical Association.
To date, total cases among residents of long-term care facilities in Illinois stand at 33,677, the most recent federal figures show.
At the start of the pandemic, Windsor Park was one of the first such facilities in DuPage County to report cases of COVID-19, identifying seven at the end of March 2020.
Cumulatively, 232 Windsor Park residents or employees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest weekly update to families. That tally includes 75 residential living residents, 46 in skilled nursing, 22 in assisted living and 89 employees.
Within those numbers, 21 residents have died.