coronavirus illinois

Illinois Changes Way It Reports Nursing Home Virus Cases

A hospital staff member holds a coronavirus testing swab during the COVID-19 pandemic on May 4, 2020.
Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The state of Illinois is no longer providing the total numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths at long-term care facilities, choosing instead to disclose information about recent outbreaks.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the state's Department of Public Health on Friday began to provide information only on nursing homes and other facilities that have at least one new coronavirus case in the last four weeks. The department as of Friday stopped publishing information about those facilities that had cases earlier in the pandemic but have not had any cases in the past 28 days.

“Our priority is to focus on those facilities currently experiencing an outbreak, and also to provide to the public the current status of COVID-19 in Illinois,” department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold wrote in an email to reporters explaining the change.

But some have criticized the change, saying that it means that people looking for long-term facilities for loved ones won't have all the information they need to make a decision.

AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo said the group was troubled by the change because it prevents people from seeing historical data about the virus at individual facilities.

"This information is crucial, especially for those who are in the already difficult position of seeking a facility they can trust,” Gallo said.

As in other states around the country, the pandemic has hit long-term facilities particularly hard. Of the more than 4,710 people in the state who have died of the virus, more than 2,000 of them were residents of long-term facilities.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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