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70% of residents test positive for COVID-19 at South Shore senior home where 10 have died

Test results show that 111 residents have contracted the disease at Symphony South Shore senior home, 2425 E. 71st St.

Symphony South Shore senior home, 2425 E. 71st St., announced that it tested all of its residents in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.
Symphony South Shore senior home, 2425 E. 71st St., announced that it tested all of its residents in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.
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Ten residents at Symphony South Shore senior home have died from COVID-19, and more than 100 others have tested positive for the disease, according to the senior home’s owner.

Test results show that 111 residents — or 70% — have contracted the the coronavirus at the senior home home, 2425 E. 71st St., according to an emailed statement from Symphony Care Network spokeswoman Natalie Bauer Luce. Twenty-seven residents remain hospitalized.

The announcement comes just days after state health officials said a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in Illinois are tied to senior facilities.

Symphony operates seven other senior residences in Cook County, including Symphony of Bronzeville, which has reported five deaths from the coronavirus, according to state data released Sunday.

Overall, at least 30 Symphony residents have died from the coronavirus, as well as two employees, Symphony CEO David Hartman said in a letter sent Wednesday to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

To control the spread of the coronavirus, the facility tested all residents in collaboration with the University of Chicago, Luce said. Since test results were returned, the senior home has been treating and isolating patients, Luce said.

Before the testing, Symphony took aggressive measures to control the virus, including banning outside visitors and screening employees for symptoms before shifts, Luce said.

“Collaborating with UChicago Medicine is critical, and our patients could not be in better hands,” Hartman was quoted saying in part in the statement. “We have a 40-year history of caring for patients in urban settings. Many of our patients are vulnerable and we thank the University of Chicago for their collaboration and we implore state and federal authorities to provide increased testing to help slow the rate of community spread of this disease.”

Nursing homes have been hit hard during the pandemic, and have accounted for more than 280 of the Illinois’ 1,500 deaths from COVID-19, according to state data released Sunday in response to calls for transparency. In Cook County, 804 nursing homes residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, with 146 of them succumbing to the disease.

At Symphony’s facility in Joliet, more than 25 residents have died from the disease, prompting the city’s mayor on Friday to call on the Illinois Department of Public Health to investigate “the mess of what happened.”

In his letter to Pritzker, Hartman said most of the cases in the Joliet facility were tied to a asymptomatic employee, whom he called a “super-spreader.” Patients were isolated after Symphony learned the employee — who delivered food to more than 40 rooms daily — had contracted the disease, Hartman said.

“These deaths occurred due to the virulent nature of this disease, which is especially deadly for vulnerable populations like the elderly patients we serve,” Hartman said.

The Symphony Care Network includes 28 senior homes in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, according to its website. The company was found in 1978 by Bob Hartman, who opened the first location at what is now Symphony of Bronzeville. Bob Hartman’s son, David, is now its CEO.