LaVia-Welter.jpg

Linda Chapa LaVia and David Welter. (State of Illinois photos).

The Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs is resigning. Linda Chapa LaVia's resignation comes after hearings into a deadly outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home in LaSalle where 36 residents died and over 200 residents and staff were sickened.

Morris State Representative David Welter, who also represents Plano, was among the lawmakers calling for Chapa LaVia's resignation. He questioned Chapa LaVia during a hearing on a days long delay between when the outbreak started to when there was a team on the ground to assess things.

Hearings also revealed that there were problems with personal protective equipment being used by staff at the veterans home and that hand sanitizer being used wasn't effective against COVID-19.

Welter says that Chapa LaVia's departure is the first step in accountability to Governor Pritzker's lackluster response to the outbreak at the home. Morris State Senator Sue Rezin echoed Welter's statements, but questioned why Chapa LaVia was given the option to resign and not removed earlier by the governor.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has appointed Major General Peter Nazamis, who is Assistant Adjutant General of the Illinois Air National Guard. as interim director of the Department of Veterans Affairs while a search is conducted for a new director.

Chapa LaVia says it was an honor and privilege to serve as IDVA director and says she is looking forward to assisting Nazamis in his new role. LaVia is a former State Representative from Aurora.

As a result of the outbreak, the director at the LaSalle Veterans Home was fired and the head of nursing was placed on leave.

Audio for this story was provided by the Illinois House Republicans Press Office.