Deadly COVID-19 outbreak at Illinois VA home can be blamed on mismanagement, report says

A scathing new report says a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans home can be blamed on mismanagement.

Video Transcript

J.B PRITZKER: I've seen so much death over the last year.

- Illinois governor J.B Pritzker at a downstate event lamenting the failure of leadership and staff at the LaSalle Veteran's Home to protect veterans.

J.B PRITZKER: Nothing is more devastating to me than knowing that 36 of our veterans, our heroes died of COVID in a single veterans home. The recommendations in this report confirm that changes needed to be made.

- The 50-page report looking at the root causes of the tragedy. The probe a joint effort between the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Office of Inspector General, and the Armstrong Tisdale Law Firm. Among the systemic problems at the home was ineffective hand sanitizer, according to the report, not able to protect against the virus, improper symptom screening when the Coronavirus hit last Fall. And staff improperly touching residents without hand hygiene or changing gloves.

Top leadership at the home said to include now-former Illinois Va Director Linda Chapa Lavia, quote, "abdicating key responsibilities," the report alleges. Lavia, who resigned in January, not returning our calls for comment.

J.B PRITZKER: You have to remember that she led the investigation that happened-- with the incident that happened at the Quincy Veteran's Home a few years ago. And so, she seemed like an ideal person to be able to root out the problems in our veterans' homes.

- Korean War veteran Richard Cieski, among the 36 veterans who died at the home due to COVID. Cieski's family filing a wrongful death lawsuit.