By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

More than 85 percent of DuPage County’s 236 COVID-19 deaths originated in long-term care facilities, or LTCs. In McHenry County, the percentage is nearly 80 percent. And in downstate Macon County, all 15 of its deaths are tied to LTCs.

In all, half of Illinois’ COVID-19 deaths are linked to long-term care facilities, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. That percentage has been rising since IDPH began posting retirement home deaths on April 19. And as that number rises, the more a majority of Illinoisans learn that they face far less risk than originally thought. Instead, the true risk is heavily concentrated in a few vulnerable demographics. 

Consider the following:

1. A total of 1,553 of the state’s 3,241 deaths as of May 8th, or 48 percent, were tied to long-term care facilities. 

2. The impact of nursing homes is even more pronounced in the collar counties. In addition to the high proportion of deaths in DuPage and McHenry counties, Lake County’s LTC deaths total 63 percent, Kane County’s 57 percent and Will County’s 56 percent. In all, 70 percent of deaths in the Collar counties are tied to LTCs.

3. In Cook County, the epicenter of Illinois’ outbreak, 864 deaths, or almost 40 percent, are from LTCs. That means over a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in Illinois come from Cook County long-term care facilities.

4. In the rest of the state – outside of Cook and the collar counties – 60 percent of all deaths are retirement-home related. When you subtract all LTC deaths downstate, the entire region has just 125 deaths.

5. Eighteen downstate counties had 50 percent or more of their COVID-19 deaths related to LTCs. Macon, Jackson, Jasper, Peoria, Iroquois and Union County all had 100 percent of their deaths tied to retirement homes.

Add the above facts to what Illinoisans are learning about COVID-19, and it’s no wonder Gov. Pritzker’s reopening strategy is facing more resistance.

Recent comorbidity data is providing more transparency about who’s truly at risk – and it isn’t a huge swath of the population. The differences between downstate and Chicago shows a one-size-fits-all reopening makes no sense. The fact that there are nearly one million unemployed Illinoisans – and that Illinois faces a potential depression – means that deaths from poverty, suicide, opioids and more, may eventually overtake COVID-19 deaths.

All of that means Illinois must embrace a new reopening strategy. Look for us to tackle that issue in an upcoming piece.

Read more about COVID-19 and the impact on Illinois:

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Katen
3 days ago

It’s because they don’t have enough help the patients are not in there own rooms most muring homes will have one cna per 20 patients they can’t possibly gown up and gear up quick enough to care for so many it has always been this way it’s a very hard job and only certain people can do it and the pay is terrible so you know the ones doing it truly care for their patients

Dee
6 days ago

What is wrong with your governor?

Dale
6 days ago
Reply to  Dee

Power hungry and politically motivated. The residents of Illinois are an afterthought

patricia bowman
7 days ago

send out people to check it there are 5G cell towers within a 100 meter distance from residences.

Whammo
11 days ago

My aunt just contracted the coronavirus. Two employees working in the retirement building she lives in tested positive and of course it spread through the building. They sent her to the hospital and the hospital wants to send her back to her building since she only had a fever. It’s clear that illnesses are brought into these retirement/nursing facilities by people that do not adequately wear the proper protection to safe guard the residents.

Dr. Nemo
12 days ago

Another source of cases for the NYC cases has been the homeless population there according to the discussion on Doctor Radio on XM 110 this morning. Homeless shelters are another locale where highly vulnerable people congregate in close quarters and so it is reasonable to believe that our local Illinois homeless may be another reservoir of disease. If there is any published data on this aspect of the plague, I haven’t seen it so far. Stigmatizing the homeless with this would be counter to the narrative that they are harmless to the average citizen.

Yoz
13 days ago

Did you see Rich Miller’s ridiculous spin on this article? “‘Originated’ in nursing homes? That’s quite a claim. All nursing homes have been sealed off for weeks and weeks. The residents are catching the virus from people going in and out to work, delivering goods and services, etc. In other words, residents are getting it from the community and surrounding areas. And then the virus can travel back into the community after it’s spread in the facilities because asymptomatic nonresidents go home, or deliver goods to another facility and then go home or whatever.” -Rich Miller Despite Rich throwing a… Read more »

Admin
13 days ago
Reply to  Yoz

He and his commenters routinely distort stories Miller reports on, but don’t bother trying to put up a comment on his site correcting him. He dishonestly rigs the comment section by screening out what he does not like, with a few exceptions to maintain plausible deniability.

Yoz
13 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Quite agree, his site is all about selling his narratives and cheap spin to an echo chamber. However, if any of his readers follow the link here some of them might appreciate finding a site where honest discussion is encouraged rather than suppressed.

MikeH
13 days ago
Reply to  Yoz

He’s painted himself into a corner for sure. For years, he’s banked on the smug knowledge that he was untouchable. All he had to do was back the majority. Except now we have a real crisis on our hands, and his meal ticket is in danger if he doesn’t follow the narrative to the letter. Buy the ticket, take the ride, Rich.

12 days ago
Reply to  Yoz

Exactly. The senior living centers have been left out in the cold to fend for themselves with no help from IDPH. Very little PPE, very little testing, very little aggressive infection control training and given the nature of the setting the disease quickly spreads from person to person and then the industry is vilified because people are dying. This is tragic on so many levels but especially when this did not have to occur. Alternative sites were available in IL and in NY for the overflow of infected NH patients and these sites were not used. An utter failure of… Read more »

debtsor
12 days ago

I know morons who actually believe that seniors have a higher chance of catching the red death at wal-mart than they do locked in their room in a nursing home. I point out that 50% of the deaths in the state have been in nursing homes, and they just double down, saying that the lock down on nursing homes isn’t stringent enough, because, uh, testing. These people will jump off a bridge to defend JB’s utter incompetence.

Joan
13 days ago

Rich Miller is at it again with a really disgusting distortion of what you have written on this. His commenters are too who seem like they are all public union people sitting at home and getting paid in full and collecting their pensions. How he can look in the mirror is beyond me.

MikeH
13 days ago
Reply to  Joan

He’s in it for the money, plain and simple. Those fools (and many in our state govt, fat boy included) pay Miller to read his drivel.

Joe The Plumber
13 days ago

Count me in for killing three people if it puts $13 in my pocket.

Yoz
13 days ago
13 days ago

Ted and John, This is a problem of exceptional magnitude. The IL nursing home resident deaths during the COVID crisis represent a tragedy of epic proportions. This is complete failure at the highest levels of IL government and the responsibility here lies with the Governor and his Director at the IL Department of Public Health (IDPH). Going in to this crisis everyone knew that the aged, with medical comorbidities are at greatest risk yet nothing was done to protect this population. The Governor and IDPH either received bad advice, did not consult medical and long-term care professionals or ignored competent… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur
13 days ago

Excellent comment. It reveals the sham of our government as little more than a PR operation of a political party interested in power and personal gain first and governing second.

UnclePugsly
13 days ago

Why did Pritzker not listen to the industry experts, e.g LTC professionals such as yourself? Pritzker said numerous times he would follow the ‘science’ and NOT let politics guide decisions. Pritzker caused people to DIE!

12 days ago
Reply to  UnclePugsly

Exactly, Pritzger and Cuomo both have blood on their hands. The American Medical Director’s Assn (far more expert than me) told them not to send infected patients back into the homes. Pritzger hasn’t listened to science for a minute.

debtsor
12 days ago

He is listening to science. Its just bad junk science coming from the mind of misguided progressives. Which means it’s not really science, but ideology. The same crimes he accuses his detractors of committing. I rather he just use common sense, but he has no real world application of that.

Peter
13 days ago

Those of us who have attained a certain age are well aware that we are one medical event away from LTC. We are also aware of the dangers of these operations, unless we have at least $10,000/month available for a quality operation.We know this because we have visited many of them to check in on our friends and family. The state and local governments can pass all the regs they want to “ensure” safety, but they don’t have the resources to police and enforce. Even the IDVA with its “sacred duty” to veterans dropped the ball at its flagship Quincy,IL… Read more »

debtsor
13 days ago
Reply to  Peter

Children cared for elderly parents, as it has been since the dawn of time. Until social security and medicaid nursing homes, that is. Now children put their mostly destitute elderly parents into a decrepit nursing home where they live in their own filth until they pass.

kingfish
13 days ago

Some are calling the Covid-19 virus the “Boomer eraser”.

Illinois Entrepreneur
13 days ago
Reply to  kingfish

This is awful. Anyone who thinks like this is either too young and foolish to understand their callousness or is frighteningly devoid of their humanity.

maybe never
13 days ago
Reply to  kingfish

the boomer remover

Yoz
13 days ago

It would be great to see this analysis further broken down in Cook County (e.g., suburbs vs the city). I realize though that would be a pretty time consuming task unless IDPH can provide you with the necessary sums for the two separate areas.

Yoz
13 days ago
Reply to  Yoz

I decided to figure it out anyhow. IDPH now reports 863 LTC deaths for Cook County, so they must have made a correction. Regardless, if I did this right then as of May 8th:

Suburban Cook County – 506 LTC – 929 Total – 54.5%
City of Chicago – 357 LTC – 1268 Total – 28.2%
Cook County – 863 LTC – 2197 Total – 39.3%

debtsor
13 days ago

IL’s slow downward spiral is quickly accelerating. Grab the popcorn folks, it will be quite the show as progressives rip each other apart for what little remains of the pie.

DantheMan
13 days ago
Reply to  debtsor

The death spiral probably has a few more spins left before the liberals turn on each other. Patience my friend.

Deep in the Heart
13 days ago
Reply to  DantheMan

Here’s JB’s likely game plan :
1. Hope for Biden + blue Senate = fed bailout
2. Failing that, research other 49 states and see what taxes Illinois is missing.
Get greedy unions to help push through.
3. Raise RE taxes.
4. Dance with Lori while George sings “Taxman.”

debtsor
13 days ago
Reply to  DantheMan

Not sure how many spins are left unless that federal bail out comes and there’s not much appetite for it in DC, despite the pleas and arrogance you see from those demanding the bailouts. There’s a laundry list of things in DC that need to get done but haven’t – from infrastructure, student loan reform, trade deals, and so on. These are things that people have demanded and they don’t get done. There’s no bipartisan support for bailouts. I’m also unsure how much strength the blue wave has left from 2018. No rational person is blaming trump for the economic… Read more »