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As COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact residents of long-term care and congregate living facilities across the state, including in Evanston, the City’s Health and Human Services Department has provided an update on its ongoing efforts to assist these facilities and their residents in reducing the spread of the infectious disease.
Support for Long-Term Care Facilities
Since initiating its COVID-19 emergency response in March, the City’s top public health priority has been supporting long-term care facilities and organizations that serve at-risk groups.
Recognizing the increased risk COVID-19 poses to older adults and residents of congregate living facilities, the City’s Health and Human Services Department, in collaboration with disease control experts affiliated with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and NorthShore University HealthSystem, has worked closely with Evanston long-term care facilities by providing public health protocols, guidance and directions for infectious disease control, symptom management, proper personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, and fatality prevention.
As part of these efforts, the City has:
- Helped senior care facilities establish a working group as part of the Mayor’s COVID-19 Task Force to share practices, discuss issues and concerns, and obtain the latest infectious disease control information from the IDPH.
- Distributed PPE to help keep staff and residents safe and to aid in facilities’ operations. To date, the City has distributed more than 23,000 PPE items to licensed long-term care and other congregate living facilities, including boxes of disposable gloves, face shields, surgical and N95 masks, gowns, and disinfectant materials.
- Provided training, risk management and education, including on-site visits to facilities that need consultation in the proper implementation of public health protocols.
- Worked with facilities to expand and promote testing to aid in infectious disease control measures.
- Conveyed public health updates and recommendations to ensure that facilities are following the latest guidance.
- Communicated with facilities weekly to determine where information and resources are needed.
Public health data
Public health data shows that older adults are at a higher risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19. To date, approximately 8 out of 10 COVID-19 fatalities reported in the U.S have been adults 65 years or older.
As of June 3, 2020, Evanston had 210 confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents at long-term care facilities, including 36 deaths, for a fatality rate of 17 percent. The City has 48 confirmed deaths and 728 confirmed cases overall. As of May 29, the last time state long-term care facility data was updated, Illinois reported 17,098 confirmed cases at long-term care facilities and 2,744 fatalities, for a fatality rate of 16 percent.
With 11 IDPH-licensed long-term care facilities and 1,360 beds at these facilities, Evanston has a higher number of long-term care facilities and beds than nearby municipalities, including Skokie, Des Plaines, Glenview and Park Ridge. Despite this, Evanston’s overall fatality rate has remained slightly below the average fatality rate reported in these comparable communities.
Data as of June 3, 2020. Source: Evanston Health and Human Services Dept. (LTCF designates long-term care facility.) The City reported an additional death late in the afternoon on June 3, which was not incorporated into this analysis.
The City’s Health and Human Services Department and its disease control partners will continue to work with long-term care facilities to provide guidance and direction to limit the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
The latest COVID-19 information can be found on the City’s website, at cityofevanston.org/covid19.