Senior retirement and long-term care facilities have been especially impacted by COVID-19, and that includes in this neighborhood.
Smith Village, a senior-living community in Morgan Park, reported that six residents had died after contracting the virus.
During such a time of sorrow, however, Smith Village can take pride in its transparency in publicly addressing this tragedy—and the community deserves praise for rallying behind its residents.
Smith Village Executive Director Marti Jatis has provided regular updates on the number of deaths, as well as test results for residents and staff, via letters to families, which have also been posted on the Smith Village website.
She announced the sixth death on April 21 and said that 19 other residents who had been diagnosed were being treated at Smith Village, with two more hospitalized.
All the residents who succumbed to the virus were living in the skilled-nursing care wing, and Jatis said that all residents of the wing have been tested.
Staff members were also tested, and the 15 who were positively diagnosed are recuperating at home.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (DPH) is providing information on COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term-care facilities online at dph.illinois.gov, another way families can stay updated.
The Beverly Area Planning Association hosted an “Uplift Smith Village” parade on April 18, and dozens of autos streamed down Western Avenue, circling around Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Pl.
Local schools have conducted similar parades in recent weeks, allowing teachers to say hello to families, and they were just as uplifting.
However, the Smith Village parade was especially emotional. Families displayed personalized signs of support and looked up to windows, trying to wave to their loved ones.
Visitation from family and friends has been limited at retirement and nursing homes for several weeks, adding to the agony the virus has brought to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Many local efforts have gone toward helping Smith Village, including making facemasks. If people can’t sew, they can donate money to help provide the necessary materials.
People throughout the country are hoping the curve on the infections graph is flattening and that one day they will enjoy precious personal moments again, such as visiting aging relatives. In the meantime, Smith Village residents and those living in similar facilities around the country can rest assured that they will never be alone.