A nursing home in Cicero where COVID-19 cases and deaths are widespread, will remain under a court order for another 28 days.
Cook County Circuit Judge Alison C. Conlon ruled Friday the City View Multicare Center LLC must continue to follow a temporary restraining order requested by the town of Cicero.
The state as of last week logged 10 COVID-related deaths at the facility.
The extended order allows for the town to conduct two unannounced visits to the facility over a 28-day period.
Conlon initially granted a TRO against City View last week that requires the facility to comply with all federal, state and local directives related to COVID-19.
Her May 5 order also required the state department of public health to inspect the facility within 48 hours.
During a video hearing Friday, assistant Illinois attorney general Katherine A. Snitzer, representing the IDPH, said the inspection didn’t find any violations of the guidelines.
City View’s lawyers, Jason T. Lundy and Charles P. Sheets of Polsinelli P.C., asked the court to revise the number of positive cases reported from 197 cases to 167 positive cases and 30 inconclusive cases, out of about 325 residents and 300 employees.
Lundy and Sheets argued against extending the TRO, citing the violation-free inspection.
“Cicero is asking for the court to give it brand new police powers that are extended to no other municipality over a nursing home, and has no basis in the municipal code or the city ordinances,” Lundy said.
Cynthia S. Grandfield, Cicero’s attorney from Del Galdo Law Group LLC, maintained the town was not seeking police or regulatory powers.
Conlon agreed with Grandfield’s argument.
“I don't see this as an issue of adding another layer of regulation,” Conlon said. “I don't think [the town is] asking me for permission to do that. I don't think they're asking me for those enforcement powers. I see it as a request for visit during a pandemic, after a number of complaints were received from different corners of the town on different days about different types of violations, including photos that were submitted to the court, and they want to have some ability to come in and take a look.”
She denied the town’s request to remove residents from City View to hospitals, which were designated by the state as “alternative care facilities.”
She said that request “would be impermissibly substituting a town's judgment for that of the experts. That's off the table.”
On May 1, the town sought a preliminary injunction and TRO against City View, arguing the facility was not following health guidelines, such as not requiring staff or residents to wear appropriate personal protective equipment and not enforcing social distancing policies or providing readily available hand-washing stations, among other claims.
The extended TRO requires the facility to comply with all federal, state and local directives related to COVID-19, including providing sufficient personal protective equipment to residents and staff, enforcing social distancing, posting signs, providing sufficient hand-washing stations and monitoring people entering and exiting the site.
“While I am very encouraged that there were no major areas of noncompliance identified in the public health department's report, I don't think that diminishes the fact that we're still in an emergency,” Conlon said.
The next hearing in this case is scheduled for June 5.
In a written statement, Del Galdo Law Group LLC managing member Michael Thomas Del Galdo said Conlon was both fair and judicious.
“She put the concern for the health and well-being of the residents above IDPH and City View’s concerns of jurisdiction and authority,” Del Galdo said.
Lundy said in an emailed statement, “City View is grateful that the court denied the part of Cicero’s motion seeking to move residents from the facility and instead allows City View residents to remain in their home. The court-ordered inspection by the Illinois Department of Public Health found that City View is compliant with state and federal regulations and COVID guidance. We are confident that visits by Cicero will find similar results.”
This case is Town of Cicero v. City View Multicare Center LLC, et al., 20 CH 4046