Nearly Half Of Illinois’ COVID-19 Deaths Are Linked To Nursing Homes

Meadowbrook Manor of Bolingbrook via Google Earth
Meadowbrook Manor of Bolingbrook, photographed in July 2019, has had 26 fatalities tied to COVID-19, according to Illinois public-health data. The 298-bed facility, about 30 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, has had more deaths linked to the virus than any other nursing home in the state. Google Maps
Meadowbrook Manor of Bolingbrook via Google Earth
Meadowbrook Manor of Bolingbrook, photographed in July 2019, has had 26 fatalities tied to COVID-19, according to Illinois public-health data. The 298-bed facility, about 30 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, has had more deaths linked to the virus than any other nursing home in the state. Google Maps

Nearly Half Of Illinois’ COVID-19 Deaths Are Linked To Nursing Homes

Nursing homes now account for nearly half of Illinois deaths with a confirmed link to COVID-19, a WBEZ analysis of state data shows.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday afternoon posted data showing that 1,553 — nearly 48% — of the state’s coronavirus deaths are tied to long-term-care facilities and assisted-living establishments.

That percentage has been rising steadily since April 19, when IDPH began posting the number of COVID-19 deaths and illnesses tied to those facilities.

In all, Illinois has had 3,241 coronavirus deaths, state data show.

The nursing home with the state’s highest COVID-19 death count was Meadowbrook Manor of Bolingbrook, a 298-bed facility at 431 W. Remington Blvd., about 30 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. That facility had 26 confirmed coronavirus-linked fatalities and 173 cases — all disclosed by the state within the past two weeks.

The licensee of the Bolingbrook facility, according to IDPH, is Butterfield Health Care, Inc. The department lists the company’s major owners and their stakes as Robert Jafari (25.0%), Dorothy Vangel (18.5%), Kianoosh Jafari (12.5%), Soussan Jafari (12.5%), Nicholas A. Vangel (10.0%), Sasha E. Dimas (7.2%), Sean W. Dimas (7.2%) and Ashley M. Dimas (7.2%).

Meadowbrook Manor of Bolingbrook’s administrator, Amy Hammond, did not return a phone message seeking comment. A spokeswoman for the facility asked WBEZ to email questions but did not immediately answer them.

The next-highest coronavirus death tallies were at Symphony of Joliet, which had 24 fatalities, Elevate Care Chicago North in the city’s West Ridge community, which had 23, and Center Home for Hispanic Elderly in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, which had 22.

Next were three suburban facilities — Bria of Geneva, Glenview Terrace Nursing Center, and Windsor Park Manor in west suburban Carol Stream — that each had 21 deaths linked to the virus.

Illinois had 11,437 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes by Friday, up from 7,542 a week earlier, according to the data.

The leader for confirmed cases was the state-owned Elisabeth Ludeman Developmental Center, a 510-bed facility in south suburban Park Forest. Ludeman, which houses individuals with intellectual disabilities, had 265 cases and 6 deaths tied to the virus

Next were City View Multicare Center in west suburban Cicero, which had 262 cases (9 deaths), Woodbridge Nursing Pavilion in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, which had 183 cases (17 deaths); Meadowbrook Manor of Bolingbrook, which had 173 cases (26 deaths); Symphony at Morgan Park on Chicago’s South Side, which had 169 cases (6 deaths); and Symphony at Midway on the city’s Southwest Side, which had 152 cases (6 deaths).

The IDPH data included both nursing home residents and staff members but did not distinguish between the two.

The coronavirus has now sickened people in 410 nursing homes in Illinois, the data show. That figure represents nearly 28% of the state’s 1,470 long-term-care and assisted-living sites.

IDPH on Friday listed 176 nursing homes with at least 20 coronavirus cases. Those included 22 facilities with at least 100 cases.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration last month said it was stepping up coronavirus testing in nursing homes and requiring additional safety measures.

The Health Care Council of Illinois, a trade group for nursing homes in the state, said they were doing their best to fight the virus and protect employees.

But some nursing home workers have accused their employers of providing insufficient staffing and personal protective equipment. They have also alleged underreporting of COVID-19 deaths and illnesses.

A union for 10,000 nursing-home workers in the state called off a strike that was scheduled to begin Friday morning and declared victory during talks to replace an expired contract. Workers in 64 nursing homes across the state had voted to authorize the strike, according to the union.

A tentative two-year agreement lifts pay, sets up hazard bonuses and expands sick-leave benefits for certified nursing assistants, housekeepers, dietary aides, laundry workers and activity aides in about 100 nursing homes, mostly in the Chicago area.

Chip Mitchell reports out of WBEZ’s West Side studio about criminal justice. WBEZ’s Data Editor Elliott Ramos contributed data analysis. Follow them at @ChipMitchell1 and @ChicagoEl.