Nursing homes account for more than half of coronavirus deaths in Illinois, new data shows

The data released Friday, however, is again riddled with inconsistencies, and reflects yet another change in how the numbers were reported from the week before.

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Nurse Jeanette Averett comforts a COVID-19 patient last month at Roseland Community Hospital.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Illinois nursing homes now account for 52% of all coronavirus deaths in Illinois, data released Friday shows.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday reported 2,747 coronavirus deaths in Illinois nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and 17,133 cases.

The data this week again reflects a change in how the numbers were reported from previously. Last week, Illinois officials said they would no longer be reporting cases and deaths from homes which had not recorded a new case of coronavirus in the past 28 days. A day later, though, the state quietly reversed course and released updated data which included the cumulative number of cases and deaths since the start of the outbreak.

The state’s nursing home data continues to be riddled with inconsistencies, with some homes reporting a decrease in cases and deaths, despite assurances from Illinois officials that the data is cumulative.The state previously stopped counting “probable” nursing home cases and now reports only laboratory-confirmed cases, which had led totals to drop at some homes.

According to the data released on Friday, Illinois has 536 homes which have had cases of coronavirus. But a Sun-Times review of that data found that multiple homes were listed twice both in the data released by the state and on their website.

One home, Wauconda Care in Lake County, is listed twice in the state’s data released Friday — once as having 62 cases and 17 deaths, and again as having only two cases and no deaths.

Another home, Northern Illinois Academy in Kane County, reported 13 cases in the data released on May 23, but only two cases in Friday’s data.

Despite the state moving to Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan on Friday, many nursing homes and long-term care facilities continue to report increases in coronavirus cases and deaths. Midway Neurological and Rehab Center in Bridgeview added 78 new cases of the virus this week, while Symphony at 87th in Auburn Gresham added 51 cases.

Dobson Plaza Nursing Home, in north suburban Evanston, saw the largest outbreak this week, going from just 3 cases to 52 cases in a week. Dobson Plaza reported nine deaths this week after reporting zero last week.

A state spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment late Friday.

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