COVID-19 victims have ties to Hinsdale

Former Central football star, police officer and long-term care facility all hit by pandemic

An NFL player who grew up in Hinsdale, a Hinsdale police officer and 11 individuals at ManorCare Hinsdale are among those who have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Last week Hinsdale Central graduate Brian Allen, starting center for the Los Angeles Rams, became the first NFL player to admit he had COVID-19.

Allen, 24, tested positive three weeks ago, the NFL announced April 15. FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer first reported the development.

Rams coach Sean McVay spoke about Allen during a segment on FOX Football Now, according to the NFL article.

“I talked to him yesterday. I’m really glad to hear he’s feeling good, he’s healthy and he’s on the road to recovery,” McVay said. “... I think he did a great job of letting us know right away so we could be timely in our response and making sure that we didn’t expose anybody else to that.”

An April 16 New York Times article included a comment Allen made to Fox Sports about his symptoms.

“I lost all sense of smell to the point where I had smelling salts here, I cracked them open, put them to my nose and nothing happened,” he told Fox Sports. “All I could feel was texture in my mouth — literally, it was the only sense I had.”

Allen could not be reached for comment.

Police force affected

Hinsdale Police Chief Brian King reported that one officer tested positive for COVID-19 on April 4 after visiting an area testing site but that he was back on shift as of April 16.

“He never had signature symptoms of the virus. He quarantined at home,” King said.

Five other members of the department who might have had contact with the officer were tested, and their tests all came back negative. He said the department also reached out to “two or three individuals” that the officer had spoken to in the week prior to his diagnosis to alert them.

“There were no subsequent issues there,” he said.

King highlighted the steps taken in the department to prevent contamination, including holding roll calls outdoors or remotely and segmenting shifts to reduce contact.

“The squad cars are sprayed down before the next officer uses them,” King said. “The mitigation here in the police department is actually pretty robust.”

Calls for service have generally been down in recent weeks, he said, reducing the need for contact with the public. There has been a slight uptick in calls for domestic matters and one other area.

“We get a few complaints a day about social distancing,” King said.

Nursing home data released

Information released by the Illinois Department of Public Health Sunday confirmed that ManorCare in Hinsdale had one confirmed case of COVID-19 as of April 19.

That count is outdated, Hinsdale Fire Chief John Giannelli told The Hinsdalean Wednesday. He said he is in daily contact with the administrator at ManorCare and the number of confirmed cases was 11 as of Tuesday.

“We go in there dressed for COVID no matter what at ManorCare just because there are so many cases, and sometimes it presents as something else and it’s not,” he said.

The facility has taken the appropriate steps to stop the spread, Giannelli said.

“They did it all. They’ve got plastic up around to present the spread from the wings that have the people,” he said.

A statement ManorCare’s corporate office emailed The Hinsdalean last week emphasized the steps the facility has taken to protect the safety and health of patients, employees and authorized visitors, from placing new admissions on hold, taking regular symptom and temperature checks of residents and creating airborne isolation units.

The office would not provide any additional information about the number of cases there, other than confirming there had been one case.

“We cannot provide information about employees or patients,” wrote Julie Beckert of the marketing/communications office of HCR ManorCare in the email.

“We communicate directly with employees, patients and their families if they are affected or if there is a risk of exposure in our facility,” the statement read.

While Gov. JB Pritzker began releasing data on confirmed cases and deaths at long-term care facilities on Sunday, the DuPage County Health Department has not. It reports daily only on the total number of cases at such facilities.

“To respect the privacy of residents, families and staff, the DuPage County Health Department does not identify facilities with cases or deaths related to COVID-19,” a spokesman wrote in an email.

IDPH data released Sunday shows some 186 long-term care facilities in Illinois have had 1,860 cases and 286 deaths, which constitutes nearly 25 percent of all deaths reported in the state.

In DuPage, more than 60 percent of the deaths are in long-term care facilities, Giannelli said.

‘They are getting hit the hardest right now,” he said.

Author Bio

Author photo

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean