Residents and staff members at Evanston nursing homes and senior living facilities are more likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 than are their counterparts statewide.

An Evanston Now analysis of data from the Illinois Department of Public Health shows that for seven local centers listed, 93% of residents and 78% of employees have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

That’s quite a bit higher than the 80% of long-term care residents and 60% of workers who are vaccinated statewide, according to federal statistics cited by the Chicago Tribune.

One Evanston facility, The Mather, on Davis Street downtown, is listed as having both 100% of residents and employees with complete vaccinations.

The reports from the other Evanston facilities listed are:

  • Westminster Place, 100% of residents, 84% of staff
  • Dobson Plaza, 93% of residents, 72% pf staff
  • Aperion Care, 93% of residents, 68% of staff
  • Symphony, 91% of residents, 58% of staff
  • Alden Estates, 90% of residents, 89% of staff
  • The Grove, 83% pf residents, 78% of staff

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered all state-run congregate facilities to mandate COVID shots by Oct. 4. But there is no such requirement for privately owned centers.

The Illinois Health Care Association, which represents private facilities, has come out in favor of mandatory vaccinations for employees, so that all facilities would have to do the same thing.

Ike Ogbo, Evanston’s Health and Human Services director, says that some facilities in the city are “reviewing their options with their legal departments to mandate vaccines as well as determine how best to move forward with mandates.”

Between federal, city and hospital-connected programs, Evanston has been aggressive in providing COVID vaccinations for long-term care residents and workers.

There are actually 32 long-term care facilities and congregate homes in Evanston, but many are group homes that do not have the same elderly population as nursing homes do.

Ogbo says 18 of the facilities took part in a federal pharmacy program, where drug stores provided staff and resident vaccinations at congregate care centers.
The city did seven on-site clinics, and others homes were connected to vaccination events from AMITA Health.

Early on in the pandemic, elderly long-term care residents were among the most likely to contract COVID-19 and die from it.

According to the city, there have been 534 long term/congregate facility COVID cases, and 79 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Overall, Evanston has seen 4843 total COVID-19 cases, and 118 deaths from the virus.

Update at 5 p.m. 8/18/21:

Late this afternoon, the Biden Administration announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for nursing home employees nationwide, or those facilities would lose federal Medicare and Medicaid funds if they do not comply.

The regulations are expected to be issued next month. About 15,000 nursing homes would be impacted. It is unclear how many Evanston facilities could be covered by the rules, although most long term care facilities across the country take part in the government funding programs.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.