SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a combat Veteran and former Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), today urged the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to assist the IDVA following a Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report released last week, which documents a number of failures within IDVA leadership in addressing and preventing a fatal COVID-19 outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home (IVH) LaSalle. In a letter to VA Secretary McDonough, Durbin and Duckworth asked the VA to ensure that IDVA has the appropriate protocols in place, as well as training and support it needs in order to continue to protect Illinois Veterans from COVID-19 or any future infectious disease outbreaks.

“Countless families have entrusted the care of their loved ones—Veterans who have served and sacrificed for this country with honor, and deserve the highest standards—to the State of Illinois. We urge the VA to help ensure that our State is up to the task in the face of challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote Durbin and Duckworth.

The OIG report revealed a lack of preparation, poor communication and training, and a lapse in infectious disease protocols at the LaSalle State Veterans’ Home. The COVID-19 outbreak at LaSalle claimed 36 Veterans’ lives and resulted in 109 other Veterans and 116 staff members testing positive for the virus.

Full text of today’s letter is available here

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