Rauner vows not to close Quincy veterans home after Legionnaires' outbreak

Keep Quincy home's doors open

Lawmakers seek answers on vets' home Legionnaires' outbreak

I have heard nothing but favorable comments from the veteran residents and their families.

The disease claimed 13 lives at the veterans home since August 2015. He says there were about 300 cases in IL past year. That's when state health officials instructed the home's administrators to take measures to prevent its spread, Shah said. "On Aug. 27, we were sure".

The House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees plan a joint hearing Tuesday in Chicago on the illness that has contributed to the deaths of 13 residents since 2015 and sickened dozens of others.

In the face of mounting criticism over his handling of the situation - and fresh off a weeklong stay at the facility - Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday promised additional upgrades, which the Illinois Veterans Affairs department estimates could cost upwards of $30 million. In the meantime, she said, staff was instructed to check residents' vital signs more frequently and residents were told informally that there was the risk of an infectious disease on the campus.

"It is increased surveillance", Jeffries said.

Lawmakers questioned that reasoning, saying relatives of the residents didn't get information that might have led them to remove their loved ones from the home.

McSweeney said he would work closely with Rep.

Sen. Sam McCann of Plainview criticized Dr. Nirav Shah (NEER'-uhv SHA') in a legislative hearing Tuesday because he doesn't have Gov. Bruce Rauner's cellphone number.

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks about his four-point plan Wednesday
Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks about his four-point plan Wednesday

Legionnaires' disease is a big problem at the Quincy veterans home but it is not a problem right now at the La Salle veterans home. He's expected to leave the home Wednesday and speak to reporters, a spokeswoman said.

Thirteen residents at the Quincy home have died from Legionnaires' disease since 2015. She said care at the facility "was so good that (relatives) wanted their family members to stay there". "Was that a mistake not to immediately inform the public of the information that you had at the point of a potential outbreak". He also laid out his long-term plans for addressing water safety concerns.

Posner says there were 6,000 cases of Legionnaires' nationally a year ago.

In 2016, two volunteers and three residents had symptoms of the disease. He told one story about how a resident, Greg, defeated the Governor over and over in Connect 4.

Rep. David McSweeney, a Barrington Hills Republican, challenged Jeffries to propose a new housing unit on the sprawling, 200-acre campus that would have state-of-the-art plumbing for a modest investment of state capital-project dollars and federal Veterans' Administration support.

"We're finding more cases because we are looking for more cases", Jeffries said. "I understand that. But I don't want another person to die in our home".

The CDC declared in a report last week that eliminating the bacteria from the home's water is unlikely. "And let me be crystal clear, I do NOT support closing this facility".

Legionnaires' disease is rising nationally partly because of an aging population and aging structures, according to Sam Posner, associate director for epidemiological science for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Surface water tends to be warmer and more accessible to Legionella bacteria, Rauner said. In water pipes, legionella bacteria can grow on what's called biofilm that accumulates in all water pipes.

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