Nursing homes and retirement centers continue to deal with COVID-19

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After coping with the first year of COVID-19, Friendship Manor on Rock Island and many other retirement homes have worked hard to encourage residents and staff to get vaccinated.

Ted Pappas says it’s been successful. The nonprofit is compliant with Illinois Governor Pritzker’s vaccination mandate, with nearly 70% of staff vaccinated and more than 98% of residents vaccinated.

Friendship Mansion

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Friendship Mansion

Friendship Manor’s latest report on Guidestar says the financial impact has been devastating – “a loss of $70,000 a month”. And Pappas says the government seems to have completely forgotten about nursing homes despite increasing regulatory requirements and spending.

Pappas is also disappointed with the lack of action from the local government. The nonprofit organization has twice applied for federal RESCUE funding from the Rock Island City Council. But he said, “It didn’t come to anything.”

2022 01 19 Proportions of IL variants IDPH.PNG

Illinois Department of Public Health

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https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/data/variant-proportions.html

Screenshot of COVID-19 variant proportions

Friendship Manor and its residents have benefited from therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 such as monoclonal antibodies, and one example is Regeneron. But the government has stopped distributing the drug because studies show it is less effective against the omicron variant.

Pappas says positive COVID tests don’t reveal which variant is infecting residents and staff. So he thinks the drug should be made available to people who test positive and who could benefit from the treatment.

The long-term care center never stopped ordering personal protective equipment (PPE). But now the CEO says his biggest concern is running out of PPE and COVID-19 testing. Recently, PPE orders have not been fulfilled.

Over the past two months, the number of Friendship Manor employees and residents who have tested positive for COVID has increased along with the rest of the Quad Cities. And Pappas worries that family members and other visitors are bringing omicron into the facility. The nonprofit continues to regularly test staff and residents, but is unable to require testing for visitors.

Note: WVIK News has requested interviews with officials from several other local nursing homes and retirement centers. But Friendship Manor was the only one to respond.

Once a week on Fridays, the Illinois Department of Public Health provides updates on new COVID-19 cases and deaths at long-term care facilities. (Click on HERE to check facilities by county across the state.)

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