By Angela Simmons, Weekly Editor
During the daily update from the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency, The Colonnade in O’Fallon was listed as a long term care facility in outbreak status. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) affects seniors at a higher rate than other populations.
Samantha Bierman, the St. Clair County Health Department Emergency Response Coordinator, said facilities with more than two cases among residents and staff. She then said there were two confirmed cases and zero deaths at The Colonnade.
While Bierman said the two cases were confirmed, The Colonnade Executive Director JoNell Krohn said “We have one resident that has tested positive and was taken to the hospital with unrelated symptoms. We also had one staff member have a positive result 14 days ago.”
Krohn said the resident was currently in the hospital , not at the senior living facility, which has 125 residents. When asked abut precautions for other residents and staff, she said “The Colonnade is doing everything possible to keep the residents and staff safe and healthy, we are following all IDPH guidelines.We closed our campus on March 12 at 8:00 p.m. to all visitors only allowing in essential personnel. We appreciate our residents, families and staff during this unprecedented time.”
Long term care center guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) state “Long term care facility residents are at high risk of being affected by COVID-19. Risk factors associated with living in a congregate setting and characteristics of the populations served (often older adults with chronic medical conditions) can result in more severe disease from COVID-19 in these individuals.”
Guidelines include restricted visitation, vital checks every eight hours for residents, face masks for staff members, staggered dining periods for residents with distances of six feet between each resident, and more. For a full list, click here.
When asked about first responders that may have to respond to calls at the senior living center, O’Fallon Police Chief Eric Van Hook said that EMS responders would “respond in full PPE,” and added “In the event it is a criminal matter, or issue requiring police assistance we will also respond in full PPE. If it is a staff member making a police report, we will determine if we can take a phone report, or we will request they come outside and meet with us on their parking lot if it all possible.”
Of the facilities listed in outbreak status, The Colonnade had the fewest number of cases and was the only facility to have zero deaths. Other long term care facilities listed as being in outbreak status are BRIA of Belleville with 11 confirmed cases and one death, The Four Fountains with eight positive cases and one death, and Memorial Care Center with 13 positive cases and one death.
St. Clair County has 287 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths to date. 1,233 residents have been tested, 879 tests were negative, and 67 are pending result. The 62269 zip code currently has 23 confirmed cases out of 108 tests performed, per IDPH statistics.
The state of Illinois is at 30,357 cases and 1,290 deaths. 143,318 tests have been performed. The totals are an increase of 1,197 cases and 31 additional deaths* in the past 24 hours. The daily death rate was greatly reduced from 125 in the previous 24 hours.
For more information about COVID-19 in Illinois, visit dph.illinois.gov, or coronavirus.illinois.gov.
*Footnote- While IDPH lists the number as being 33, the actual death total increased by only 31.