COVID-19: Pappas on Long Term Care Management During Pandemic

Sep 15, 2020

Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News

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 long term care residents only make up about 15% of cases in the county (blue pie chart).

Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News

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 building 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.

Ted Pappas, CEO Friendship Manor, Rock Island, IL
Credit submitted / Friendship Manor

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 skilled nursing centers in Rock Island have been hard hit. Seventeen residents have died at Generations, and 15 at Saint Anthony's Continuing Care (see chart below, data source online HERE). 

Many long term care centers 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 retirement communities will be dealing with the pandemic and mitigation measures until May 2021.

The chart below is limited to show COVID-19 statistics from long term care centers as reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The state's data does not differentiate between skilled nursing (medical setting) and assisted living (residential setting) which are not subject to the same licensures and regulations. More information about long term care centers in Illinois can be found HERE