State Watch

Illinois officials launch investigation into deadly COVID-19 outbreak at veterans home

Illinois state officials have launched an investigation into a COVID-19 outbreak at a local veterans nursing home after nearly 200 residents and staff members became infected and 27 veterans died from the virus, according to The Associated Press.

On Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs asked for an independent investigation of the LaSalle Veterans' Home, the AP reported, noting that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's (D) office is also attempting to track down the source of the outbreak.

"The tragedy of what has unfolded at the veterans' home cannot be understated," state Sen. Sue Rezin (R), who represents the district where LaSalle Veterans' Home is located, said, according to AP. "I'm glad that the director has called for an independent investigation and agree that there are lesson to be learned from this terrible outbreak that has claimed the lives of 27 of our nation's heroes."

Back in October, a routine test of a staff member came back positive, marking the beginning of the outbreak, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Nearly two-thirds of employees and residents at the facility have reportedly tested positive for the virus this month.

In an effort to combat the outbreak, state officials increased staff testing and Pritzker said that he has sent in an infection control team, according to the AP.

"I expect all facilities to follow all the public health guidance that we give, and if there are instances in which that's not happening, I expect answers about why," Pritzker said, according to the Tribune.

On Tuesday morning, a total of 40 residents and 24 staffers reportedly tested positive for the virus; 101 people are currently living in the facility, the AP noted.