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New case of Legionnaires’ Disease reported at Quincy Vets’ Home

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QUINCY (WGEM) -- The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported Wednesday that they are investigating a single case of Legionnaires’ disease in a resident at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

IDVA and IDPH reported the resident tested positive for COVID-19 on November 30 and presented with symptoms of pneumonia on December 16.

Officials stated the resident was treated in the ER and as a matter of course tested for legionella.

IDVA reported it received notification of the positive test on December 22.

State officials said the resident is responding well to medical treatment and is recovering at the Quincy Vets' Home.

Officials added Legionella has not previously been found in Hammond Hall, the building in which this resident resides. Accordingly, the building was on a quarterly testing schedule. The last legionella test was conducted October 27 and was negative.

Officials stated no other cases have been identified and the Quincy Vets' Home continues to follow its plans to monitor residents for respiratory illness. New piping was recently installed in the facility which receives water directly from the City of Quincy. A pall filter was installed on the pipe leading into the building.

Testing of the areas the resident was in as well as up flow and down flow of those rooms was conducted immediately. These included Hammond Hall and the Fifer building. Results from such tests typically take 11-13 days to return.

According to the state, the last case of Legionnaires’ disease at the Quincy Vets' Home was December 21, 2019 and was in the Fifer building. Water tests immediately following the case were found to be negative. Since that time, the Fifer building has been on a water testing schedule conducted every two weeks.  The last test was conducted on December 8 and the previous was November 24. Both were negative. There are pall filters on all point of use locations in the Fifer building.

State officials reported that following the positive test result on December 22, a call was conducted which included the Adams County Health Department, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the CDC, USDVA, facility staff and Dr. Avery Hart, medical consultant for the IDVA homes on behalf of IDPH. On the call, the CDC asked for clean out and flushing logs which are part of the water management plan for the facility. All actions by the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy are consistent with the water management plan following CDC protocols.

IDPH reported their infectious disease staff are working with the facility to collect information and further investigate the resident’s illness. The Quincy Vets' Home has notified residents, staff, and families or power-of-attorneys.

The Legionnaires' outbreak at the Quincy Vets' Home started in 2015 when 12 residents died and 56 others were sickened. Since then, 14 residents have died and more than 60 others have been sickened by the disease.

State officials unveiled a new $5 million dollar water treatment plant at the home in 2016 and plans for a new $230 million dollar facility in 2018.

One year ago this month Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia said even though you don't see any physical progress on the grounds of the home, things are moving in the right direction and construction could begin soon.

For more on the history of Legionnaires’ Disease at the Quincy Vets' Home, click here.

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Jim Roberts

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