Rezin calls for ‘a more complete picture’ following 76 COVID-19 deaths across three veterans homes

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Rezin calls for ‘a more complete picture’ following 76 COVID-19 deaths across three veterans homes (Springfield, IL) – With the Illinois General Assembly holding hearings about the COVID-19-related deaths of 36 residents at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home last fall, some lawmakers are calling for attention to the larger problems that led to 76 fatalities at multiple facilities.

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Republicans continue to raise questions regarding the COVID-19-related deaths of 36 residents and the infections of multiple residents and staff with the coronavirus. State Rep. Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee) said in a recent press conference that the problem is bigger than LaSalle.

“Not far from where I live is the Manteno veterans home where the state of Illinois is tasked with the privilege of caring for Our Heroes in their final years,” Haas said. “Unfortunately, as we have learned, the current administration has not lived up to this solemn responsibility.”

Haas said that multiple failures have come to light, not just in how the LaSalle Veterans’ Home was administered but all the way up through agencies that fall under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration.

“Known issues in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs went unaddressed, and a key administrative position has gone unfilled for nearly a year-and-a-half,” Haas said. “The executive branch failed to provide effective oversight of agency operations, resulting in a total failure of the department to ensure the appropriate and effective infection control protocols were in place.”

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The negative results of those problems can be found throughout the state’s veterans’ homes, Haas said. She also stated that many of the problems identified at the LaSalle facility are present in the other facilities.

“In total, 76 of our nation’s heroes have lost their lives to COVID-19 during outbreaks at all three of the veterans’ homes. Today we are calling for more hearings and further investigation to get to the bottom of this grossly negligent failure and ensure that it doesn’t happen again,” Haas said. “Considering what we know about the handling of the outbreak at LaSalle, it’s time to get a more complete picture of how the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has handled the COVID-19 pandemic across the board. Our nation’s heroes deserve better.”

A report from the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Office of Inspector General, which has been called “scathing” by some news organizations, provides several recommendations for both the facility and state agencies to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

In the wake of the deaths at LaSalle, Republican lawmakers have indicated that Pritzker needs to ensure his administration lives up to campaign promises following an outbreak of Legionnaires Disease at the Quincy Veterans Home, according to coverage by the Illinois Valley Times.

Rezin calls for ‘a more complete picture’ following 76 COVID-19 deaths across three veterans homes

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