COVID-19 strikes Cass County nursing home


42 confirmed cases reported among patients and staff since Friday

  • COVID-19 strikes Cass County nursing home
    COVID-19 strikes Cass County nursing home

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 has occurred at a Cass County long-term care facility.  The outbreak raised the county’s total number of reported positive cases from 79 to 119 an increase of nearly 50 percent.  
While neither the IDPH or the Cass County Health Department has specifically identified the facility involved, the Star-Gazette has confirmed, through multiple independent sources the outbreak occurred at the Walker Nursing Home in Virginia.
Of the119 people in Cass County who have tested positive for the virus, 75 are  listed as recovered.
According to a press release issued Friday, June 19, a total of 20 people, both residents and staff had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Tuesday night’s press release, however, identified an additional 19 people who had tested positive for the virus with the number of residents affected increasing to 24, while the number of staff members grew to 18.
Tuesday’s positive results, according to the release, stemmed from the outbreak reported on Friday.
All of the residents and staff have been isolated either at the nursing facility or (in the case of staff members) at home.
Contact tracing is also being conducted.
According to Andrew English, speaking on behalf of the Cass County Health Department, the local health department is working with the nursing home administration to ensure compliance with all applicable IDPH recommendations and guidelines to protect the residents  and staff at the facility.
Since the outbreak, English said the health department has been in daily contact with the nursing home, monitoring both the patients and the staff. English said all residents and staff members at the nursing home who have tested negative for the virus will be re-tested weekly until no new cases can be associated with the outbreak.
The outbreak gives English cause to warn against people becoming too complacent in their attitudes toward the disease. 

“As more and more things are reopened across the state, the higher the exposure risks will become,” English said.
He cautioned Cass residents to continue wearing masks when out in public; to continue frequent hand washing and to continue social distancing to reduce their exposure risks.
With the 20 cases added as a result of the outbreak, the number of positive COVID-19 cases now stands at 119 with 75 leaving 44 active cases in the county.
A spokesperson for the nursing home, when contacted by the Star-Gazette, indicated they are cooperating fully with and implementing all recommendations made by the county health department and the Illinois Department of Public Health.