COVID-19 outbreak in Manteno Veterans’ Home, one resident has passed away

The veterans' home in Manteno, Illinois.
The veterans' home in Manteno, Illinois.(Mike Miletich)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 11:53 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs is responding to a COVID-19 outbreak at the Manteno Veterans’ Home in Kankakee County. A spokesperson for the department said 16 veterans and six staff at the home have tested positive so far.

According to IDVA, one of the veterans died early Wednesday morning just hours after receiving a booster shot and testing positive for COVID-19.

IDVA reported Wednesday that a “small number” of the veterans who tested positive have shown mild symptoms while the majority have no symptoms. Positive residents were moved to a negative pressure solution unit and will be closely monitored and cared for by IDVA staff.

The department said all of the veterans who tested positive previously received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 15 of those residents are up to date with booster shots. A doctor on staff is also assessing the need for anti-viral medication.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our military veterans and the heroic staff who care for them,” said IDVA spokesperson Maureen Hartigan. “We take this very seriously. We are following recommendations from local health officials, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the IDPH to safeguard everyone at the facility.”

Hartigan noted that the department is conducting daily health screenings for the veterans, routine COVID-19 testing for staff and residents, using N-95 masks with face shields, maintaining social distancing, and using gloves and gowns. Staff is also cleaning and disinfecting the facility frequently. Residents have been encouraged to stay in their rooms to minimize movement among others.

Hartigan noted that IDPH staff was on-site to respond to this outbreak hours after the tests came back positive. IDPH has provided full protection, testing, and additional care for those testing positive and any close contacts.

IDVA explained communal dining and other activities in the Manteno home will not resume until the outbreak has ended.

“We are grateful to our team for remaining highly vigilant for signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and for responding swiftly, appropriately, and professionally to any potential cases,” Hartigan said. “Activities and social services staff continue to develop leisure activities, in accordance with social distancing practices, to care for the psychosocial wellbeing of our veterans.”

While people are still able to visit veterans in the home under CDC guidelines, the department has warned families about the COVID-19 outbreak. IDVA staff is encouraging people to reschedule their visits until the outbreak ends.

The Manteno facility was one of several veterans’ homes across the state with COVID-19 outbreaks in 2020. 36 veterans living in the LaSalle Veterans’ Home died from COVID-19 complications.

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