CHICAGO (CBS) — We haven’t heard about COVID outbreaks in awhile.
But last month the state deemed six state run facilities for the developmentally disabled in “outbreak” status. Some families said it’s left loved ones without needed care.
CBS 2’s Chris Tye reports on a story you’ll see only on 2. They were some of the facilities first ravaged by COVID. Cases so overwhelming, the National Guard was called in.
The word “outbreak” is back in the vocabulary at these facilities, even though there’s no sign of an uptick in cases. So, what’s going on?
In March of last year Paul Bogue, with autism, asthma and heart problems, became one of Illinois’ first COVID patients.
He contracted it living at the state-run Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee. Where, as of today, 667 residents and staff have contracted COVID since the pandemic began 18 months ago. Paul healed.
Earlier this year, he was moved here to the state-run Kiley Developmental Center in Waukegan. Last month, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) sent letters to families at both facilities telling them:
“Six developmental centers are currently in outbreak.”
Which means, once again, rules at places like this have tightened and Paul’s mom said many services have disappeared.
“My son is there because he requires 24-hour care. To not give them any care is horrendous,” said Cindy Bogue. “That’s what they’re getting paid for. They’re making a cripple out of my son.”
He’s in a 14-day quarantine after a visit home. And physical therapy and monitored food service has been cut back.
“The room they put him in, the windows were boarded up. It was so dark in there, when he got up, he fell,” Bogue said.
In addition to Kiley and Shapiro, also listed as an “outbreak” last month, the Ludeman Developmental Center in Park Forest, where at the height of its COVID troubles, the National Guard was called in.
Are these facilities still in outbreak status? CBS 2 reached out multiple times to IDHS to answer questions and that of Paul’s mom. No one responded.
“It’s a nightmare,” Bogue said. “They just don’t care and you can’t talk to anyone about it. They don’t return emails or calls. It’s a mess.”
The state constantly updates active COVID cases in these facilities. Numbers show most of those patients have recovered. So, why the outbreak status?
Parents like Cindy Bogue wonder if lack of vaccination by staff is behind this. If so, that problem that could be remedied by mandated vaccination for health care workers in Illinois. They must get their first shots by this Sunday, and their second 30 days after that.