26 veterans have tested positive for COVID-19 at Manteno Veterans’ Home

A sign outside the Manteno Veterans' Home.
A sign outside the Manteno Veterans' Home.(Mike Miletich)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 4:35 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs says there are now 26 veterans positive for COVID-19 at the Manteno Veterans’ Home. Fourteen staff members have already tested positive for the coronavirus as well.

A spokesperson for the department says the positive cases stem from the same initial units and are not widespread throughout the facility. Maureen Hartigan noted that all staff continue to go through rapid COVID-19 testing before shifts. The veterans also have COVID-19 testing at regular intervals.

“No veterans or staff are hospitalized,” Hartigan said Tuesday. “All remain asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.”

An asymptomatic veteran already under hospice care passed away early Wednesday morning. That veteran had only received a booster shot and tested positive for COVID-19 hours before his death.

Hartigan said a physician at the Manteno Home has given appropriate anti-viral and monoclonal antibody treatments for each resident when necessary. She said the department has an ample supply of both oral and IV treatment options.

The department reported that 16 veterans and 6 staff had tested positive on June 14. Hartigan noted that positive residents were quickly moved to a negative pressure solution unit and would be closely monitored and cared for by IDVA staff.

IDVA staff are following recommendations from local health officials, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Illinois Department of Public Health to safeguard the Manteno facility.

IDPH staff was on-site to respond to this outbreak hours after the tests came back positive. Hartigan explained last week that the department provided IDVA staff with full protection, testing, and additional care for those testing positive and any close contacts.

Communal dining and other activities in the Manteno home will not resume until the outbreak has ended. Staff encouraged veterans to stay in their rooms to minimize movement among others.

Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) said this situation is tragic and there has to be accountability. Bourne said the state has been monitoring COVID-19 for several years, especially in congregate care settings.

“If Gov. Pritzker hasn’t learned anything from the previous veterans’ home outbreak then shame on him and shame on his administration,” Bourne said Tuesday. “But we’ve got to do something to make sure that our veterans who served us and who are now under our care are safe as possible and we are responding as quickly as possible.”

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