Share the article: ICYMI: Pritzker Administration MIA while over 20% of LaSalle Veterans Home residents die of COVID-19

After making the Quincy Veteran’s Home Legionnaires outbreak a centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign, the Pritzker administration is found flat footed in LaSalle outbreak claiming 27 lives

Last week it was revealed that the LaSalle Veterans’ Home – owned and operated by the State of Illinois – has seen an unprecedented level of COVID-19 cases during the month of November, resulting in 27 deaths of veteran residents.


“As Hannah Meisel of NPR Illinois points out, with the facility having housed 121 residents and 230 employees before the outbreak, that means more than 85% of the residents and more than 40% of the staff at LaSalle Veterans’ Home have tested positive for the virus. More than a fifth of the veterans staying at the facility have died of COVID-19.”

The recent outbreak of more than 200 positive cases has occurred just since the start of November. On Veterans Day, an astonishing 7 veterans of the home died.

The Illinois Senate Veterans Affairs committee held a hearing last week on the matter and State Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) noted in The Southern Illinoisan some troubling findings: 

  1. The IDPH did not make a site visit until November 12th, even though cases were skyrocketing by November 1st. 
  2. Linda Chapa LaVia, the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, did not personally discuss  this tragedy or the state’s response with Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
  3. At least five staff at the LaSalle Veterans Home who had tested positive for COVID-19 were allowed to continue working at the facility.

In addition, it was also uncovered that a number of employees of the veteran’s home who eventually tested positive for COVID-19 attended a Halloween party together. This despite the Pritzker administration’s repeated warnings against group social settings.

Why did it take 11 days for Pritzker’s IDPH to make a site visit? By the time of the Senate hearing, why had the head of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs not personally spoken to Pritzker about this tragedy? Why were 5 COVID positive employees allowed to continue working at the facility? Why are state government employees attending outside social events together and transmitting COVID-19?

One would think Governor Pritzker would have a greater sense of urgency to address an outbreak of a deadly disease in a state-run veteran’s home given that such a scenario was a centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign in attacking the record of his predecessor.

Let’s take a closer look at what Pritzker was saying and doing in 2018…

WGN – Son of dead Quincy veteran attacks Rauner in new Pritzker ad

“Since WBEZ first raised questions about the Rauner administration’s Quincy response last year, Democrat Pritzker has accused Gov. Bruce Rauner of fatal mismanagement. Now, with this statewide television buy, Pritzker continues to raise the issue in the campaign.”

WTTW – Final Debate for Rauner, Pritzker Takes Place in Quincy, Site of Legionnaires Outbreaks

“Actions were not taken immediately,” Pritkzer said. “And as a result of his failures and his fatal mismanagement, he’s now under a criminal probe, as is his administration. It’s a shameful neglect of our veterans, who we should be standing up for every single day.”

WBEZ – Rauner, Pritzker Debate Quincy ‘Cover-Up’ And ‘Toiletgate’

“He failed,” Pritzker said of Rauner. “For three years, he failed to protect them. Fourteen people died.”

It’s now November of 2020 and 27 Veterans – over 20% of the resident population – have died over the course of the last month at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home.

27 deaths.

11 days before an IDPH site visit took place.

5 employees testing positive for COVID allowed to work.

0 conversations between the IDVA Director and Governor Pritzker.

Pritzker and his administration must answer for their fatal mismanagement. 


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