Skilled Nursing Facilities are home to many Residents who are vulnerable and at risk of contracting the Coronavirus and ultimately COVID-19. Despite taking all precautions prescribed by the CDC and the Illinois Department of Health, it is inevitable Residents living in Skilled Nursing Facilities may come in contact with and contract the Coronavirus from screened caregivers (who show no symptoms) in their Skilled Nursing Homes, through contact with first responders, or at hospitals where they must be sent for acute care needs.


Newton Care Center is a Skilled Nursing Facility and a home, where despite taking all advised precautions, our Residents had been impacted. On April 3rd, we were contacted by our local health department, and one (1) of our worst fears became a reality: one (1) of our Residents was exposed to the Coronavirus while outside of our facility for acute care. Our Resident was immediately tested, as was the roommate, and the tests came back positive for the Coronavirus.


Prior to receiving the positive COVID-19 test Newton Car Center was already operating under strict CDC and local health department guidance with visitor restrictions, a fourteen (14) day quarantine of all new admissions, the screening and monitoring of all employees for symptoms, and the use of masks/personal protective equipment required for all staff. Our home was prepared with a COVID-19 isolation care unit in waiting with staff willing, skilled, and educated to care for COVID-19 Residents.


To date, Newton Care Center has 18 confirmed COVID-19 Residents. “We’ve been doing everything with the guidance from our local and state department of health and the CDC. We cannot be any more grateful and thankful for the support and resources provided to us by our local health department.” stated Paula Schoonover, Administrator. Schoonover indicated: “We are following strict isolation protocols. We have very skilled and dedicated staff working our COVID-19 unit. Our staff have worked tirelessly and selflessly to provide compassionate care to those affected. We are working directly with our extremely supportive, local health department to meet our need for Resident and staff testing.”


“We are operating ‘all hands-on deck’ to ensure not only our COVID-19 positive Residents are cared for while continuing to care for our Residents not impacted by the virus,” stated Schoonover, “Despite being prepared, this situation feels surreal and seems to change minute-by-minute” said Schoonover. “We are doing everything we can to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible through screening, isolation, and lock down protocols.”


Newton Care Center remains committed to caring for all Residents, regardless of their COVID-19 status. “ We will only transfer Residents from our home if their condition requires them to go to the hospital,” Schoonover said. “Just like any other virus, if someone gets symptomatic and must go to the hospital, they they will go. Otherwise, this is their home and we are going to take care of them in their home.”


“We remain so appreciative of the support of our Residents’ families, our local community, and our local health department,” said Schoonover. “My staff is working extremely long hours, and they are working very hard and pulling together in this very difficult time. The positive and generous support and understanding from our community is what we need now more than ever. Newton Care center will remain committed to our mission of Residents First, Employees Always.”


The Jasper County Health Department (JCHD) is actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Jasper County. Through the advice of the IDPH Long Term Care Infection Control Consultant. Jasper County Health Department has been working closely with Newton Care Center providing guidance according to IDPH and CDC.