* Not a great lede from the Tribune…
More than two years after Legionnaire’s disease killed a dozen residents at a state-run veterans home in Quincy, Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday said he would convene a task force to look at how to best overhaul the facility and prevent another outbreak. […]
The governor, however, provided little in the way of details about how he plans to achieve that, beyond laying out some broad ideas for the task force to explore. That includes the possibility of replacing pipes, exploring whether to change the water source from the nearby Mississippi River, and constructing a new building on campus to improve resident rooms.
Even so, the governor received the most positive media coverage since before his staff purges.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner emerged Wednesday from a weeklong stay at a military veterans home beset by a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak and announced that the state would replace the plumbing at the sprawling, 130-year-old site.
He told reporters that cutting-edge water distribution would quickly advance his goal of “zero risk” of Legionnaires’ at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy, where the disease has contributed to the deaths of 13 residents since 2015 and sickened dozens more veterans and staff members.
“The goal is, latest technology on material, latest technology on water flow,” Rauner said. “We do not want any places where any water could be standing for any period of time.”
Rauner, a Republican, also said he would assemble a group of experts to determine whether a state-of-the-art dorm should be built and whether a safer groundwater source was available for the home.
* ABC 7 topped the AP…
Gov. Bruce Rauner showered and drank the water at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy for the last week during his stay at the facility where 13 people have died of Legionnaires’ disease since 2015.
On Wednesday, Rauner held a press conference to talk about his stay at the veterans home where he ate and slept with residents. He also laid out his long-term plans for addressing water safety concerns.
“What I’ve determined being here and living here is, okay, let’s take it to the next level. Now let’s fundamentally change, replace and upgrade our water systems for this campus,” said Rauner, who toured the 200-acre campus and followed the water management team around during his stay.
The governor said they will be developing plans for a new plumbing system and work could begin in the coming weeks. He said he has secured a funding commitment from lawmakers, but will be looking to federal partners and philanthropists to contribute.
He slept in the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. He drank the water. He got schooled in “Connect Four.” And he walked to the public shower with a towel wrapped around his waist.
Breaking his public silence after spending a week at the troubled state-run home, Gov. Bruce Rauner also said he wants to replace and upgrade “water systems” there and is considering the possibility of a brand-new facility on the campus.
* CBS 2 topped them all…
Since 2015, 13 veterans have died from a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. Now, after his weeklong stay at the troubled home, Gov. Bruce Rauner is vowing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The governor has taken some heat for the response to the outbreak. Now, however, CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley reports Rauner received nothing but love while promising change.
In fact, after seven days of visits, chats, card games, shared meals, and even the same medical tests as the residents, Rauner was treated like a conquering hero.
* Meanwhile, you don’t usually see state government press releases issued on a Sunday, but IDPH did just that on January 7th…
A water pipe in the building that houses the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Chicago Laboratory at 2121 W. Taylor St. in Chicago burst Sunday morning, damaging several areas of the laboratory and pieces of equipment. IDPH has notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Illinois Central Management Services. Emergency clean-up crews are on site.
The IDPH Chicago laboratory performs testing for environmental hazards, arboviruses, pathogens, newborn screening, novel diseases and potential biological threat agents. Examples include Zika virus, Ebola, Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, influenza, measles, tuberculosis, meningitis, rabies, cystic fibrosis, plague, environmental lead, and more./blockquote>
OK, so that release seems quite responsible. All sorts of bad things could’ve happened (Ebola!), so the public should most definitely have been made aware of the potential hazards as soon as possible.
But if IDPH could immediately notify the public about the flooding of its testing lab, why do its top officials still insist that waiting 6 days to tell residents and their families about an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease was perfectly fine?
…Adding… Press release…
Irked by three years of inaction from Gov. Bruce Rauner, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) filed legislation this week to begin fixing infrastructure problems at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.
“Governor Rauner has had three years to come up with a long-term solution to protect these heroes of our nation, and during that time, 13 people have died from the spread of Legionnaire’s disease,” Cullerton said. “My hope is this time the governor will realize the severity of inaction and do his job to provide our veterans the service and care they deserve, not more bureaucratic red tape and band aids.”
Cullerton aimed to kick start progress at the facility by filing Senate Bill 2308, which would authorize infrastructure improvements at Illinois’ flagship veterans home. The improvements would include updates to the water systems or new construction to prevent the spread of Legionella bacteria.
A veteran himself, Cullerton serves as the Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and is leading the way to a legislative fix to the spread of Legionnaire’s disease at any Illinois veterans home.
State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), the chief sponsor of the bill in the House, is working on building a bipartisan coalition to ensure speedy passage in that chamber once the bill clears the Senate.
During the Veterans Affairs Committee hearing this week, Gov. Rauner’s agency directors made their first request for additional funding to begin construction and renovations at the veterans facility despite the three-year outbreak and 13 deaths at the facility.
“If we in the general assembly knew additional funds were needed to improve living conditions and eliminate risk factors for Legionella at this facility, it would have been approved in a heartbeat,” Cullerton said. “Sadly, we are once again waiting on the governor for answers and results.”
On Wednesday, the governor punctuated a weeklong, well-publicized stay at the Quincy facility with a theatrical press conference calling for funding to either fix water piping systems throughout the complex or build a whole new facility.
“The Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy is a home for our heroes. Not a hotel for the governor to check in and out of,” Cullerton said. “Now that he’s had his picture taken, I would hope the governor’s office will submit legislative language within the next week to begin discussions on how to prevent the death of even one more United States Veteran.”
While Cullerton is committed to fixing the problems with the infrastructure at the facility, he said he was impressed by the care and the staff at the facility during a recent tour.
“The care and service residents receive there is exceptional,” he said. “The staff comes to work every day and gives our veterans and their loved ones their very best. Still, our heroes shouldn’t have to wait three years for the governor’s “world-class” work.”
Cullerton is hoping to have some answers from the governor’s office within the next week.
“At the end of the day, 13 brave heroes have died on the governor’s watch,” Cullerton said. “We cannot afford to lose another warrior to a preventable disease. Let’s get to work and give our veterans the service and care they deserve.”