COVID-19: Update for Supporters

April 21, 2020

Dear Friends of Haymarket Center,

We would like to offer our sincerest wishes that you and your loved ones are doing well. We are writing to update you on the impact of COVID-19 on our patients, employees, and communities to let you know how we are addressing unprecedented challenges with strength and resilience.

Our patients and communities

With special issues affecting congregate settings like ours, particularly when many patients have complex medical conditions, we have been fortunate to be able to draw on significant expertise from CDPH, IDPH, the University of Illinois and Rush to best protect our patients.

Early in the spread of the pandemic, we put aggressive, well-informed measures in place that go beyond what any of us could have ever imagined, even a few months ago. Twice daily, we complete hospital-grade total facility cleaning, supplemented by intermittent cleaning on each unit. We have ended all communal dining and group activities. We do not allow patient visitors. We have isolated patients who have been diagnosed from healthy populations and have had to transfer some for hospital care. Every day, our patient care energies are devoted to screening, educating, and COVID-19 testing.

We continue with these extraordinary measures with the knowledge that the path to recovery cannot shut down, even in the midst of a pandemic. Where possible, we have shifted treatment to telehealth, and we have slowed admissions to ensure new patients are observed for 14 days before coming into our residential programs. But we will not shut our doors.

The implications are serious for the broader community if we do not provide this essential service to a very vulnerable population, especially since emergency rooms are overburdened with patients and we know that isolation tends to exacerbate substance use disorders.

Our employees

We are extraordinarily proud of the courage and spirit of our entire Haymarket team. Our dedicated employees—including our frontline health care workers who continue to do their difficult jobs during this pandemic are true heroes.

One of the ways we sought to recognize our employees was by providing a small bonus, to thank them for working during this difficult time and to offset the extra costs of transportation, childcare, and other expenses while coping during this extraordinary time. At the same time that we applaud our employees, we are vigilant about sending any home with any symptoms, and we are fortunate to be able to provide on-site COVID-19 testing.

Our losses

We are currently mourning the loss of three employees who selflessly dedicated years to helping others overcome substance use disorders. Our condolences and sympathy go out to their families, and we look forward to celebrating their lives and contributions at a future date when our Haymarket family can safely gather and honor their memory. These losses of our treasured colleagues affect all of us so deeply, bringing close to home the clear, rapid devastation that we are all making sacrifices to address. Every day, we also mourn the loss of patients and family members near and far, and we carry with us a sense of loss, even as we recommit ourselves daily to the patients in our care.

Looking forward

We are committed to sustaining our level of intense vigilance and care as long as needed. This week, Haymarket Center launched agency-wide coronavirus testing for employees and patients on-site, including for staff from every location. We are thankful to our partners, Heartland Alliance Health and Illinois Department of Public Health, for helping to make this possible.

Like all essential health sector organizations, these times are financially challenging for Haymarket Center. We gratefully received much-needed federal support last week that is providing partial relief for us, while we continue to bear costs associated with the extraordinary measures we have put in place to remain open and available to patients. We are so thankful for the generosity of our donors and supporters who are coming forward with gifts large and small, each of which is so essential to the continuation of our life-saving work.

Thank you for caring about Haymarket Center and the hope our work represents. We wish you and your families the gifts of health and hope.


Dr. Dan Lustig, Psy.D., MISA II, CAADC
President & CEO