Twenty-two residents and one staff member at a nursing home in the northern Illinois community of Joliet have died of the coronavirus, a spokeswoman for the facility said.
In announcing the deaths Wednesday, Symphony of Joliet, which reported a total of three deaths as recently as last week, became among the latest nursing homes across the United States to report a spike in the number of COVID-19 deaths.
Since a widely-reported outbreak at a nursing home in the Seattle suburb of gained national attention — an outbreak that has claimed at least 43 lives — The Associated Press has found that more than 3,600 deaths across the country have been linked to coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Symphony spokeswoman Lauryn Allison said staffing has been adequate and the employees have been following government guidelines for minimizing the spread of the virus. She said they began moving healthy residents from the facility to other locations in its network earlier this month.
“It's a global pandemic, there's nothing they could have done to prevent it,” she said.
But a brother and sister of a 65-year-old woman who was one of the 23 to die said the care at the facility was inadequate.
“She was complaining that she was in constant pain,” Michael Brooks told the Chicago Tribune after his sister, Diane Brooks, died. “Sometimes she would defecate herself without them changing her. We'd come visit her, and who knows how long she was like that."
Brooks and his other sister, Dorisell, said they also saw that Diane Brooks, who needed around-the-clock care after suffering an aneurysm and stroke, also had bed sores. They said that they were never told by anyone at Symphony that their sister had contracted the virus.
A call to Symphony of Joliet by The Associated Press on Thursday morning went unanswered.