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DeKALB – Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center is reporting its first cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began locally in March.
According to a letter shared with the Daily Chronicle sent by Oak Crest Executive Director Stephen Cichy to residents Tuesday, two residents and one employee tested positive for COVID-19. All Oak Crest employees were tested for the virus Wednesday, according to the letter.
“At this time, the residents and employee have been instructed to quarantine,” Cichy said in the letter, saying the center confirmed the positive tests Tuesday. “Federal health and privacy laws prevent us from sharing any information about any individual who has tested positive.”
Cichy told residents in the letter that with the uptick in local COVID-19 cases – DeKalb County and Northern Illinois University reported more than 70 cases over the four-day Labor Day weekend – he’s not surprised by the cases, despite the center’s best efforts to combat the virus.
“These are our first confirmed cases of COVID-19,” he said. “With the rapid spread of COVID-19 and rise in reported cases around our county and state, this is not an unexpected event. This does not make today’s announcement any less unsettling as we are likely to see more cases on our campus and within the local community.”
It’s the sixth retirement or long-term care facility in DeKalb County to report COVID-19 cases. Along with Oak Crest, 2944 Greenwood Acres Drive, Pine Acres Rehab and Living Center in DeKalb reported 81 cases and 12 deaths. DeKalb County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center reported three cases June 3 but was placed back in outbreak mode this month with three new cases. Bethany Rehabilitation and Health Care Center reported two cases in employees June 8 but none since. One known case linked to Barb City Manor independent living center was reported Aug. 7. Willow Crest Nursing Pavilion in Sandwich reports 59 cases and 13 deaths, the largest outbreak in the county.
Of the county’s 36 total deaths to date, 25 are linked to long-term care facilities. As of Wednesday night, neither the Illinois Department of Public Health nor the DeKalb County Health Department reported any cases linked to Oak Crest.
Public health officials are not mandated to report cases linked to centers not designated as long-term care facilities, and it’s unclear at this time whether Oak Crest classifies as one.
Oak Crest staff remain in contact with local and state public health officials, according to the letter, and are following protocol in an attempt to mitigate the spread. Public health officials will conduct contact tracing to notify those who may have come in contact.
“We continue to ask residents to practice safe social distancing, require that a mask be worn in all public areas in the building, avoid unnecessary trips out of the building and avoid interacting with community individuals,” according to the letter.
Cichy said in the letter he’ll continue to update the Oak Crest community on new COVID-19-related information.
“We remain committed to the health, safety and well-being of the Oak Crest residents entrusted to our care and the staff who provide comfort, compassion and healing.”