coronavirus illinois

Investigations Underway After 28 Veterans Die in Coronavirus Outbreak at Illinois VA Home

Investigators also are looking into a report that a number of LaSalle Veterans Home employees who tested positive were at the same off-site Halloween party.

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Two investigations are underway after Illinois officials say nearly 200 residents and staff members tested positive for coronavirus at the state-run LaSalle Veterans Home and 28 veterans at the facility have died since late October. NBC 5’s Chris Coffey reports.

Two investigations are underway after Illinois officials say nearly 200 residents and staff members tested positive for coronavirus at the state-run LaSalle Veterans Home and 28 veterans at the facility have died since late October.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday every aspect of the issue should be looked at, but at a press conference earlier in the day, Republican state lawmakers demanded hearings and more transparency.

"The lack of urgency from this administration should be very concerning to every Illinoisan about what is happening, and we must do better," said state Rep. David Welter.

"We have a responsibility to provide oversight, to call witnesses and to get to the bottom of what exactly happened," said state Rep. Randy Frese.

According to the state's Department of Veterans Affairs, there are currently two independent investigations into the incident.

The state says a hand sanitizer at the facility was not effective against the virus, and it has since been switched out for a more effective variety.

Investigators also are looking into a report that a number of employees who tested positive were at the same off-site Halloween party.

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger tweeted that the people of Illinois "deserve action and answers."

"There was protocol and the ball was dropped in many places," Welter said, "and we need those answers so we can move forward in an effective way to make sure we save lives."

Pritzker said Tuesday that if there’s a failure of procedure or wrongdoing, people should be held accountable.

"It’s never acceptable when we see rampant infections somewhere," Pritzker said during his daily coronavirus briefing. "Now remember, this virus is virulent. Whenever it gets into a facility like this, and it usually comes in through somebody who’s coming in to the door, it’s not the people who are there already who are negative."

The state says it has strengthened the screening process for employees as they arrive to work.