By Chris Tye

PARK FOREST (CBS) — The number of positive cases at the state-run Ludeman Developmental Center in Park Forest continues to soar, with the cases of individuals with COVID-19 doubling in just the last three weeks.

The most vulnerable in Illinois live at places like Ludeman, Chris Tye reports. They are developmentally disabled residents who rely on staff to do almost everything for them. To date, three residents and three staffers have now died there.

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So many were sick here, the National Guard was called in to give temperature checks and administer questionnaires to visitors. They left the Ludeman center Monday, replaced by emergency management personnel from the state.

But what hasn’t left? The novel coronavirus.

New data reviewed by CBS 2 reveals that of the 1,200 residents and staff on campus, 266 have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks. That’s more than double the number of infections on April 20 (126). Mmore than 56% of residents have at one point tested positive, along with 7% of staff.

“It’s troubling, and staff is concerned,” said Anders Lindall,  a spokesman for AFSCME Council 31, the union representing the Ludeman workers.

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Many residents and staff have since recovered, but six have also died. All residents have now been tested. Every employee is offered a test, but they cannot be forced to take one.

The workers’ union says out of the gate misfires by the state may be to blame.

“Perhaps if things had been better in hand at the beginning at Ludeman they would not have been lost,” said Lindall.

Most of the residents at Ludeman who are sick are in isolation and very few have needed to be admitted to the hospital. Separately, the numbers at another center, Shapiro in Kankakee, have leveled off.  There are 116 cases there and it is 25% larger than Ludeman.

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