In Rock Island County, about 80% of deaths related to COVID-19 are people who lived in long term care centers (red pie chart).
But nursing home residents only make up about 15% of cases in the county (blue pie chart).
Michelle O'Neill talks with Ted Pappas, the CEO of Friendship Manor in Rock Island, about dealing with the pandemic in long term care settings.
Friendship Manor residents do not eat together in the dining room anymore. And they wear masks whenever outside their rooms.
Pappas also says Friendship Manor has had enough personal protective equipment since the pandemic began.
Only two family members or close friends are allowed inside the nursing home and only for end-of-life visits. Residents and their families have been taking advantage of warm weather to meet outside with masks and social distancing.
All employees are screened daily, and those who work with residents are have their temperatures taken again in the middle of their shifts.
Currently Friendship Manor has no active COVID-19 cases. Earlier, it had a total of 14 confirmed cases, mostly staff, and no deaths.
This month, Pappas says the nonprofit started working with Genesis Occupational Health for weekly testing of all staff as required by the state. And the tests use saliva, so they're much less invasive.
Another new tool the Rock Island retirement community is using came from the state -- a supply of antigen test kits which reveal results in 15 minutes.
Rock Island County reports 58 of its 74 COVID-19 deaths were long term care center residents. Two nursing homes in Rock Island have been hard hit. Seventeen residents have died at Generations, and 15 at Saint Anthony's Continuing Care (see chart above, data source HERE).
Many nursing homes in Illinois struggle in part, because the state has one of the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the country. Preparation, leadership, and support also make a difference.
Pappas thinks nursing homes will be dealing with the pandemic and mitigation measures until May 2021.