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DeKalb County Public Health administrator says Pine Acres almost 'out of outbreak mode' for COVID-19

SYCAMORE – Although Willow Crest Nursing Pavilion’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise, other outbreaks at the county’s three other long-term care facilities linked to the disease may be contained, Lisa Gonzalez said on Monday.

Gonzalez, public health administrator for the DeKalb County Health Department, said the two cases reported as new at Pine Acres Rehab and Living Center last week – the site of DeKalb’s deadliest outbreak, with 12 of the 20 deaths in the county residents of the facility and 80 cases reported – were actually old cases just delayed.

“It got a little bit confusing on a few different levels, but we had a few cases reported to us [last week] that were linked to Pine Acres but were older cases,” she said. “They came from out of town delayed.”

County health departments track cases based on the reporting system: Testing sites across the state are mandated to report cases linked to a residents’ address to the Illinois Department of Public Health who then report them to respective local health departments, which then gets announced to the public.

Gonzalez said the two announced Friday were already identified by the state, just not in the local health department system until recently.

Pine Acres, 1212 S. Second St., battled a severe COVID-19 outbreak among its residents (55 cases) and staff (25 cases) beginning May 28. New cases have not been identified since late June however, Gonzalez confirmed.

“We are obviously monitoring Pine Acres, but we think that in less than a week, if they don’t have any new cases, then they will be out of outbreak mode,” Gonzalez said Monday.

Up until now, it’s been unknown whether the 430 fully recovered cases in the county included those linked to long-term care facilities, since health departments do not track individual cases and their recoveries, just recovery data by the gross.

Gonzalez said moving forward, the DeKalb County Health Department is tracking those recoveries and are hopeful some may be removed from the list soon.

“Two of the four we think are going to be moving out of outbreak mode,” she said. “We’re just waiting on a few more results to come in to be sure that’s the case. So if that happens you’ll see them drop off our daily list.”

Gonzalez said a facility must go at least 28 days without any new reported cases to be removed from the outbreak designation.

To date, Willow Crest Nursing Pavilion in Sandwich is the only facility that has reported new cases within the past two weeks, and has 24 cases in residents, 13 in staff and one death, a resident in her 90s.

Pine Acres, the largest long-term care outbreak in the county, has reported 55 cases in residents, 25 in staff and 12 deaths, although no new activity since late June.

DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center reported three cases in staff June 3, and none since. Bethany Rehabilitation and Health Care Center reported two cases in employees June 8, and none since.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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