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Two more Legionnaires’ disease cases confirmed at Quincy veterans’ home

Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018

* Last night…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting two laboratory-confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease among Illinois Veterans’ Home residents. Both residents are at the Illinois Veterans Home Quincy (IVHQ) and are doing well.

After learning of the lab-confirmed cases, IVHQ engineering staff immediately removed faucets from the residents’ rooms and collected water samples and mixing valves to analyze for the presence of Legionella bacteria. Staff also increased water temperatures and flushed fixtures to provide an enhanced level of protection for residents.

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and IDPH continue to collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Adams County Health Department to coordinate the safety and well-being of the residents and staff at the home. An investigation is underway to identify where the residents may have acquired the bacteria.

Legionella bacteria occur naturally in the environment. As such, the source is rarely identified in cases of Legionnaires’ disease. Approximately 300 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported each year across in Illinois.

The IVHQ completed an extensive renovation of its plumbing systems last year in response to the 2015 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. Renovations included construction of a water treatment plant capable of providing higher-quality water for the Home’s sensitive population. IDVA continues to test and treat its water for harmful bacteria, including Legionella. Along with additional chlorine treatments, IVHQ maintains hot water at 150 degrees to prevent the growth of Legionella. Hot water is then mixed with cold water to a temperature of 110 degrees, which allows for the maximum control of bacteria while protecting residents from scalding.

* This morning…

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is outraged at news of two more confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

“While the governor continues to live in a fantasy world, creating bureaucratic task forces and dodging requests for information, two more of our nation’s heroes have tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease,” Cullerton said. “Gov. Bruce Rauner has failed our veterans once again. Our nation’s heroes need a solution now. They cannot afford to wait another three years for the governor to finally do his job.”

* And…

Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) this morning reacted to news that two more cases of Legionnaires’ disease were found among residents at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

“The governor has dragged his feet long enough on this issue,” said Castro. “While he waits for someone else to take charge our veterans suffer. How many people need to die on his watch for him to take charge and do something?”

“We don’t need another task force to come up with a plan in 90 days.”

The first Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy in 2015 contributed to the deaths of 12 residents. The disease, which returned in 2016, 2017 and now 2018, took another life this past fall. Dozens more were sickened.

* Pritzker campaign…

Yesterday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that two more residents at the Quincy Veterans’ Home have been infected by Legionnaires’ disease.

The report is the latest in a years-long crisis for Bruce Rauner, whose fatal mismanagement led to the deaths of 13 residents. As the failed governor has come under increasing scrutiny, he has repeatedly sought to dodge responsibility through spin, cover ups, and desperate attacks on the staff at the home.

“Thirteen veterans and spouses died at the Quincy Veterans’ Home and Bruce Rauner is still failing to get this crisis under control,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “This is fatal mismanagement from a governor who is either unable or unwilling to lead as innocent families pay the price.”

* Ives campaign…

According to a new report, The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting two new laboratory-confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease among Illinois Veterans’ Home residents.

Thirteen residents of the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy have died from Legionnaires’ disease since July 2015.

Eleven families are suing the state for negligence.

In July 2016, Governor Rauner promised, “We’re really on top of the situation.” In the fall of 2017, three more people got sick and a Korean War veteran died.

In his Crain’s Chicago Business editorial board interview, Governor Rauner was asked, “How could your administration have better handled the Legionnaires’ outbreak in Quincy?” He responded, “We handled it exceptionally well and we would not do anything different.”

Days later, two new cases of legionnaires have been reported.

“The Rauner Administration’s response to the outbreak in Quincy has been a disaster,” said State Representative Jeanne Ives, a conservative reform Republican. “Political stunts and lip-service don’t make a problem go away. Good intentions are not enough. Grief isn’t enough. This is a real problem. People are getting sick. People are dying. You can’t spin it. All the sanitized talking points in the world won’t ‘Turnaround’ anything, if you’re not willing to put your back into it. You have to get in there, stay in there, and do the hard, grueling work until you’ve fixed the problem.

“Governor Rauner doesn’t have the grit to do this job. By his own admission, he is ‘not in charge.’ Thirteen veterans, or spouses of veterans, are now dead. And, now, two more have gotten sick.

“I have been to the Illinois Veterans Home. I have met with administrators. They have a plan to correct this problem. Since the people closest to the problem are often best equipped to solve it, their plan deserves a full vetting. At the same time, we should be talking to the VA about getting financing for the plan that will ultimately be implemented. And residents of the Illinois Veterans home should be placed in an alternate facility or temporary residence of their choice while the state acts. As Governor, I would work hand-in-hand with those on the ground in Quincy until being ‘on top of the situation’ is accurate testimony, not just political misdirection and propaganda.”

* Biss campaign…

Daniel Biss released the following statement in response to news of two more confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease at the Illinois Veterans Home.

“This is heartbreaking news, and the latest tragic consequence of Bruce Rauner’s failure to lead. He’s underestimated the extent of this crisis, evaded questions from the public and the press, and claimed, falsely, that he has the situation under control. Our veterans deserve better. We need an prompt investigation into Rauner’s negligence to bring justice for residents in the Illinois Veterans Home and their families.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Gettysburgaddress - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 9:22 am:

    13 DEAD VETERANS/SPOUSES. What did Governor Rauner know and when did he know it?

  2. - Anon0091 - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 9:35 am:

    Veterans deserve better.

  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 9:51 am:

    I’m sure this will be taken in a way I dont intend, but I wish politicians would quit referring all veterans as ‘hero’s’. That is a term that should be reserved for heroic, decorated actions in the service of their country. I’d guess 95% of veterans would agree with this statement. Veteran deserve our thanks, respect, and honor. That is how I see it.

  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 9:59 am:

    Isn’t it time to find safe accommodations for these folks until the state can get a handle on the situation?

    It’s been three years now, and we’re just lurching into “task force” phase.

  5. - Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 10:14 am:

    One question that I haven’t seen answered is where the Quincy Veterans Home gets its water supply. Does the City supply the water? Or does the home have its own water filtration system. If the home provides its own water, it seems as though there is a failure to operate the system correctly. If there is enough residual chlorine in the system, legionella wouldn’t be a problem.

  6. - Langhorne - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 10:15 am:

    Id i miss the comment from not-in-charge?

    All i have is–
    We did great, wouldnt do anything differently.
    These things happen
    Never been happier

    Moving back to quincy?

  7. - DeseDemDose - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:33 am:

    Rauner needs to be thrown in a loony bin. Enough is enough.

  8. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 1:05 pm:

    Rauner 2018: “We handled it exceptionally well and we would not do anything different.”

    – MrJM

  9. - RIJ - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    Rauner seriously needs a lifetime ban on having anything to do with any type of elder care, especially nursing homes.

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