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Who's dying of COVID-19 in DeKalb County? Here's a timeline of COVID-19 related deaths, most at long-term care facilities

On April 6, the first death linked to COVID-19 in DeKalb County was reported. At that time, 248 days ago and only 17 days into the pandemic locally, there were just 22 reported cases of COVID-19 in the county.

Now, 5,831 people living in DeKalb County have contracted the disease, and as of Thursday, 55 people have lost their lives.

The first case of COVID-19, a DeKalb County resident in their 40s, was reported on March 21, 264 days ago. The first case of the disease in Illinois was detected Jan. 24 in a woman who’d just traveled from Wuhan, China, to Chicago.

As 2020 comes to a close, the Daily Chronicle put together a timeline of COVID-19 deaths to date amid the county marking its deadliest week of the pandemic on record Thursday, with seven residents dead in six days, all but two of them elderly people who lived in long-term care facilities.

What story do the numbers tell?

More than half (or 60%) of all reported deaths in the county are linked to long-term care facilities, according to the DeKalb County Health Department, which reports all cases linked to long-term care facilities per state requirements, and age brackets, such as a person “in their 70s,” rather than a specific age. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports genders of deaths daily, but does not link them to a long-term care facility or zip code.

The correlation between deaths and long-term care facilities then, is determined based on the local health department’s daily COVID-19 tracker, which shows changes in case counts and death totals every week day.

Daily Chronicle reporters throughout the pandemic have been able to track down family members of residents at some facilities, including Pine Acres Rehab and Living Center in DeKalb, which was the epicenter for the county’s first lethal outbreak. At the end of its months-long ordeal from May 28 to Aug. 17, the facility reported 12 deaths in residents and 82 total cases in both employees and residents. One death at Pine Acres was in a resident who was later determined to live outside the county, so was taken off the local death toll, according to the health department.

The second, more deadly outbreak came in the summer at Willow Crest Nursing Pavilion in Sandwich June 24 through mid-October. By the time the first outbreak was complete, 15 residents were dead and 68 cases were reported.

Both Pine Acres and Willow Crest have reentered outbreak mode in the months since, but with no new reported deaths to date.

Since Monday, however, five more long-term care facility deaths were reported: three at Lincolnshire Place in Sycamore, one at Prairie Crossing Living and Rehab Center in Shabbona and one at Bethany Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in DeKalb. It’s the first fatal cases for all three facilities to date.

Out of the 55 total deaths in DeKalb County to date, 33 of them occurred in residents at long-term care facilities. To date, there have been no reported deaths of employees who work at these facilities, according to the county health department.

Deaths in DeKalb County match up with trends seen statewide and across the world: many in elderly populations at nursing homes or long-term care facilities. The state health department requires local health departments to track all cases and deaths linked to such facilities, although some in DeKalb County seem not to fall under that umbrella: such as Barb City Manor in DeKalb or Opportunity House in Sycamore, the latter of which is listed on the IDPH long-term care outbreak list however.

Local deaths have been reported in younger populations, too: 14.5% occurred in those in their 50s or younger. On Sept. 18, a baby less than one year old died from the disease.

Of the total deaths, 56% of them are in residents in their 80s, 90s or older. There have been 31 deaths in that age bracket, followed by eight in their 70s, seven in their 60s, four in their 50s, three in their 40s, one in their 30s and an infant.

Only one age bracket in the county – people in their 20s – has yet to report a COVID-19 related death.

Timeline of COVID-19 related deaths in DeKalb County

April 6: 1 man in his 50s

April 19: 1 resident in their 70s, gender unknown

May 9: 1 man in his 60s

May 19: 1 man in his 50s*, 1 woman in her 50s (*the man in his 50s was subsequently determined to live outside the county so was taken off the local death list, according to the DeKalb County Health Department)

May 28: 1 woman in her 70s who lived at Pine Acres Rehab and Living Center in DeKalb

June 1: 96-year-old Virginia Hennecke, who also lived at Pine Acres (the DeKalb County Health Department reported this death June 2, but the Daily Chronicle received confirmation that Hennecke died from the virus June 1)

June 3: 1 woman in her 90s who lived at Pine Acres

June 4: 1 woman in her 60s, 1 woman in her 90s, both residents of Pine Acres

June 8: 1 resident in their 80s, gender unknown

June 9: 1 woman in her 90s, 1 woman over 100, both residents of Pine Acres (1 additional death was reported in a Pine Acres resident this day but the resident was determined to live outside the county, according to the health department. The death was still reported attached to the long-term care facility per IDPH requirements.)

June 10: 1 woman in her 40s

June 12: 1 man in his 80s; 1 man in his 90s who lived at Pine Acres

June 17: 1 man in his 90s who lived at Pine Acres

June 19: 1 man in his 50s; 1 woman in her 70s who lived in Pine Acres

July 2: 1 woman in her 80s

July 6: 1 woman in her 90s who lived at Willow Crest Nursing Pavilion in Sandwich

July 14: 1 woman in her 90s, 1 woman in her 80s, both were residents of Willow Crest

July 17: 1 woman in her 80s who lived at Willow Crest

July 22: 1 woman in her 90s who lived at Willow Crest

July 28: 1 man in his 80s who lived at Willow Crest

July 29: 1 woman in her 70s who lived at Willow Crest

July 30: 1 woman in her 80s, 1 woman in her 90s, both lived at Willow Crest

July 31: 1 woman in her 80s who lived at Willow Crest

Aug. 6: 1 woman in her 60s

Aug. 12: 1 woman in her 70s who lived at Willow Crest

Aug. 14: 1 woman in her 60s

Aug. 19: 1 woman in her 80s who lived at Willow Crest

Aug. 28: 1 man in his 70s, 1 man in his 80s

Sept. 1: 1 woman in her 90s who lived at Willow Crest

Sept. 17: 1 man in his 30s becomes the youngest person to die locally

Sept. 18: A baby dies from COVID-19, becomes the new youngest person to die

Sept. 30: 1 man in his 90s who lived at Oak Crest-DeKalb Area Retirement Center

Oct. 5: 1 Willow Crest resident in their 70s, gender unknown

Oct. 6: 1 man in his 80s

Oct. 14: 1 woman in her 60s who lived at Willow Crest

Oct. 29: 1 resident in their 80s, gender unknown

Nov. 12: 1 man in his 50s

Nov. 20: 1 woman in her 40s

Nov. 25: 1 woman in her 60s

Nov. 30: 1 man in his 60s

Dec. 3: 1 woman in her 70s

Dec. 7: 1 woman in her 80s who lived at Lincolnshire Place in Sycamore; 1 man in his 40s

Dec. 8: 1 woman in her 90s

Dec. 9: 1 man in his 80s, 1 woman who lived at Prairie Crossing Living and Rehab Center in Shabbona

Dec. 10: 1 man in his 70s, 1 man in his 90s; both were residents of either Lincolnshire or Bethany Rehabilitation and Health Care Center. Local and state health departments did not specify.

Editor’s Note: This article is the most up-to-date timeline of COVID-19 related deaths in DeKalb County, and has been updated beyond what appeared in the print version of the Daily Chronicle Dec. 11.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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