A Cicero nursing home where 10 people died from complications related to the coronavirus is accusing town officials of raiding the facility and barging into the private rooms of residents.
Earlier this month, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Alison Conlon allowed Cicero officials to make two unannounced visits to the City View MultiCare Center to ensure that guidelines were being followed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
But town officials had violated the spirit of the judge’s temporary restraining order, as well as state and federal regulations Wednesday when one of them “frightened and intimidated residents” and barged into the home of a woman “who was laying on her bed wearing only underwear.”
“They did not conduct a visit; they did not conduct an inspection; they launched a raid,” the facility claims in a motion filed this week, asking Conlon to prevent Cicero officials from making another visit to the facility, or to more narrowly define a visit.
Following the judge’s order, City View requested Cicero to “be mindful of certain residents’ rights and facility operational concerns when conducting the two visits.” But Wednesday morning’s visit at the facility, at 5825 W. Cermak Road, was far from that, the nursing home’s motion says.
Around 8 p.m. that day, three Cicero police officers “stood guard” outside while two men who refused to identify themselves but said they were Cicero officials told City View security staff that they “had a warrant,” the motion said.
The Cicero official who came into the room of a woman who was half dressed also attempted to access “locked offices containing valuables and sensitive information without disclosing why access was needed,” City View alleges.
Another Cicero official “was recording with a cellphone camera. His recording included residents in the privacy of their rooms, sometimes undressed, sometimes asleep,” the nursing home’s motion said.
A Cicero spokesman said health officials visited the facility Wednesday for 15 minutes and observed staff not properly wearing personal protective equipment and a failure to practice social distancing in common areas.
“City View’s assertion the Town of Cicero ‘launched a raid’ demonstrates once again that the owners are playing a political PR game to distract the public from the real issues involving the health concerns and well-being of the care centers residents,” Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania said in a statement Friday.
The temporary restraining order issued by Conlon stems from an emergency motion Cicero filed against the nursing home in early May, seeking to transfer residents from the facility after nine residents and a staff member died from COVID-19 and more than 200 tested positive for the virus.
A subsequent court-ordered inspection of City View by the Illinois Department of Health “found no serious red flags” and the facility to be in compliance with state and federal health regulations.
Conlon dismissed the town’s request to transfer the residents on May 8 but agreed to allow a Cicero health official to make two unannounced “visits” at the facility within 28 days. The judge explicitly said that those visits would not be inspections.
Both sides are set to appear in court next Friday.
Last week, City View said two recent rounds of testing by Chicago-based Simple Laboratories showed that none of the residents or staff test positive for COVID-19.