April 15, 2020 – The Macon County Joint Crisis Communication Team held a press conference today to announced two additional deaths associated with Fair Havens Senior Living. With the addition of these two deaths, Macon County now has five deaths due to COVID-19 and also the five cases associated with the long term care facility. Both of the residents were females in their 80’s.
Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe addressed recent social media reports that the facility was not following proper protocols or using PPE when dealing with residents. Moore Wolfe said the Macon County Joint Crisis Communication Team has reached out to the Illinois Department of Public Health for additional support for the facility. The IDPH is the regulating body over long term care facilities, not the Macon County Health Department.
Macon County Health Department Director Brandi Binkley said proper protocols were communicated to Fair Havens by IDPH. And the Crisis Communication Team has also spoken with the facility to offer support and guidance. Binkley said that the Health Department and the Crisis Communication Team were assured by Fair Havens that protocols were being followed. However, Binkley added there is evidence that this is not currently happening. “We do not know if that is a facility choice, an employee choice. . .but it is a concern. Those pictures did concern me. We have passed them onto IDPH to make them aware of the situation.”
Mayor Moore Wolfe said the Crisis Communication Team is asking IDPH to authorize all residents and staff be tested at Fair Havens Senior Living. They have also asked that the Illinois Department of Public health work with Fair Havens on proper training and the use of PPE.
“It is very important to know how sneaky this virus can be. . .right now this is about containment and mitigation. It is important for all facilities to ramp up their infection control practices” said Dr. Venkat R. Minnaganti, Infectious diseases specialist with Decatur Memorial Hospital.
There was a small glimmer of good news today. The Macon County Joint Crisis Communication Team said that there are no new positive cases of COVID-19 to report. The current number of confirmed cases in Macon County is 43.
***** Photo Credit – Clay Jackson, Herald & Review