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updated: 5/22/2020 6:25 PM

Increased testing causes rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases at Wheeling’s Addolorata Villa

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Confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents of the Addolorata Villa assisted living center in Wheeling increased to 57 from six over the past two weeks, according to state records and correspondence sent to residents and their family members by management.

But the rise reflects the success in finally getting needed testing supplies for its at-risk population, said Patrick Schuerer, vice president of marketing for Franciscan Ministries.

"We've taken a proactive stance on this and started testing everyone," Schuerer said.

With an infection prevention specialist with 23 years of experience on staff, the facility was prepared for the outbreak from a clinical perspective but like everyone else was unprepared for the challenge of getting supplies, he said.

The test results are of great help in containing the spread within the facility, where the highest standards of caution are exercised for both the approximately 222 residents and the associates looking after them, Schuerer said.

"I think we've reached the top of the curve," he said.

Though the Illinois Department of Public Health's weekly update on assisted living facilities sometimes reflects a lag in its receipt of data, Schuerer said that Friday's report of three COVID-19-related deaths at Addolorata Villa was up to date.

He said the facility's prevention and containment efforts have been met with strong support from the majority of residents' families.