IDPH, Pritzker Administration Hammered For Their Handling of 2020 Covid Outbreak at LaSalle Veteran’s Home

By Benjamin Cox on May 6, 2022 at 9:16am

The Illinois Department of Public Health received a scathing report from the Illinois Auditor General today for their handling of the COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home that killed 36 people in late 2020.

In a summary of the report, the audit says that IDPH did not identify and respond to the seriousness of the outbreak until 11 days after the outbreak began, even though the department was receiving almost daily updates about the deteriorating conditions at the veterans home.

The report says that Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Chief of Staff Tony Kolbeck requested on November 9th, 2020 a site visit from IDPH as well as rapid tests and antibody treatments for residents. According to the Auditor General’s report, IDPH officials did not offer any advice or assistance as to how to slow the spread at the Home, offer to provide additional rapid COVID-19 tests, and were unsure of the availability of the antibody treatments for long-term care settings prior to being requested by the IDVA Chief of Staff.

The report noted that at the time the outbreak occurred when community spread of the virus throughout the state was extremely high.

It also says that onsite testing and results were delayed in getting results, accounting for further spread among staff members and then into the home’s residents.

Upon release of the report, many members of the Illinois GOP have blasted the Pritzker Administration and IDPH for what the Chicago Tribune has characterized as “a massive bureaucratic failure involving the administration’s response to the pandemic and the LaSalle deaths.” The full audit of the incident can be read at this link.