ILLINOIS ( -- Like so many families, Karen Khamee is preparing for a holiday season without her mom. Lenora Orescovich, 82, is one of the hundreds of COVID-19 deaths this week in the State of Illinois.

“The day after Thanksgiving she got worse, we knew it had gotten in the nursing home, there were at that time 4-5 diagnosed with COVID and a few staffers,’ said Khamee.

Orescovich was in a nursing home in Brighton in Macoupin County. She died Monday night.

COVID cases and deaths are surging at long-term care facilities in Illinois.

According to data provided by the state, 47 percent of all the state's COVID deaths are from long term care facilities. Missouri does not provide data specific to deaths at long term care facilities.

The hardest part for Khamee is that her mom died alone, without her family, including her husband of 64 years.

“I got to see her one time, in July. So the worst part about it is you didn’t get to say anything, you didn’t get to hold her hand. She had to be completely alone,” said Khamee.

Even with restrictions in place, long-term care advocacy groups say it’s tough to keep the virus away from the most vulnerable.

“The more people who are in our community that have it, the greater chance someone in a long term care facility will get it,” said Marjorie Moore, with VOYCE.

But hope is on the horizon, the vaccine could be in the arms of senior citizens very soon. 

“It seems like all of the indicators point to over the next month or two we should be seeing the first shots of residents of long term care which is something we’re all so grateful for,” said Moore.

CVS and Walgreens partnered with the federal government to distribute the vaccine onsite to nursing home residents and staff.

Khamee is hopeful for the vaccine, hopeful it helps prevent other families from going through the pain hers is facing.

“We didn’t expect this and until families go through this, it’s just an awful thing.”

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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