The administrator of the LaSalle Veterans’ Home in downstate Illinois has been dismissed following an investigation into a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.
32 Dead at LaSalle Veterans’ Home
On December 7, 2020, LaSalle Veterans’ Home administrator Angela Mehlbrech was terminated after two reports were released about significant coronavirus safety issues at the facility, which is approximately 95 miles southwest of Chicago. COVID-19 cases have exploded at the home over the course of the past month, with 32 residents dying from the virus.
As of that morning, 39 of the 96 residents had tested positive on their most recent coronavirus tests, along with 21 staffers. According to the reports, problems at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home included ineffective hand sanitizer, poor “hand hygiene” by workers, and employees reporting to work after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) said that the personnel change followed the announcement of an independent investigation into the coronavirus outbreak led by the Acting Inspector General of the Illinois Department of Human Services. Acting Assistant Director Anthony Vaughn will serve as the interim administrator at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home while a search for a permanent replacement is conducted.
“Worst Case Scenario”
At his COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Gov. JB Pritzker discussed the situation at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home and announced Vaughn’s interim appointment, though he did not specifically mention Mehlbrech.
“Yes, this virus preys on the elderly, and it looks for a carrier to bring it inside a home even when significant efforts are made to follow mitigations, but it should never have been this bad,” said Pritzker. “The worst case scenario that I have tried every day to prevent is now our reality in LaSalle.”
As of Sunday, the LaSalle Veterans’ Home had seen a total of 108 positive residents and 97 positive employees, according to a statement from the IDVA, with 37 residents and 81 staff members having already recovered from COVID-19. No staff deaths have been reported.
In the face of criticism about the handling of the outbreak, Pritzker and veterans’ officials launched an investigation into the spread of the coronavirus at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home late last month. According to Pritzker, that inquiry into the actions of leadership and staff remains ongoing. Additionally, the chair of the Illinois House of Representatives’ Civil Judiciary Committee launched an investigation into the epidemic last week.
Nursing Home Coronavirus Lawyers Serving Illinois
Because of their age and potential comorbidities, nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Nevertheless, that does not mean that nursing facilities bear no responsibility in preventing outbreaks. Reasonable safety precautions must be taken during these difficult times to prevent tragic incidents like the one at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home from taking place.
If your loved has contracted or died from COVID-19 because of nursing home negligence, reach out to the nursing home coronavirus attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC to discuss your legal options.
With over $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, GWC is one of the leading Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. No other plaintiff firm in the state is more respected – or more feared – by its opponents, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation of success necessary to help you and your family get the justice you deserve.
To schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our dedicated injury attorneys, contact GWC today. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.