Update: Our law firm is representing residents of the Quincy Veterans’ Home.
Two residents of the Veterans’ Home in Quincy, Illinois have contracted Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia that can be deadly to the elderly, smokers, people with compromised immune systems, or people with underlying medical conditions such as cancer, respiratory illness, COPD, or diabetes. It is sometimes referred to as Legionellosis.
In a statement released by Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), Director Erica Jeffries explained that
“We are very concerned about our residents and staff [at] the Quincy Veterans’ Home and we are continuing to implement every necessary precaution to ensure the health and safety of all. That is our top priority … As an additional precaution, we are halting all new admissions to the home.” (1)
IDVA is partnering with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Adams County Health Department (ACHD), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to try to determine where the sickened residents were exposed to the dangerous Legionella pneumonia bacteria.
Legionnaires’ Disease Cases Ongoing at Quincy
The aging Veterans’ Home at Quincy made the news last year when 54 residents and staff at the Illinois Veterans’ Home were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. 12 of these victims died. A subsequent CDC report released in late December 2015 revealed that the three key factors that contributed to the fatal outbreak were that: a) a pressure valve failure inside the main water tower allowed Legionella bacteria to proliferate; b) there was a “largely absent” execution of operation and maintenance record keeping for a subpar cooling tower; and c) there were no electronic medical records for long-term residents. The CDC also issued a series of detailed recommendations to IDPH and ACPH to remediate the contaminated facility.
In response, the state of Illinois earmarked $4.8 million to upgrade the water system of the 129-year-old facility, including the installation of a new water main and other water lines. Although the facility was also approved for an additional $24.6 million in operating funds, these monies were withheld by the state legislature until late December 2016.
Even as the IDVA attempted to renovate its water system, though, people still have continued to fall prey to Legionnaires’ disease. On April 25, 2016, the ACHD notified the IDPH and IDVA that a new case of LD had been reported in Adams County. At that time, IDHP Administrator Jerrod Welch said that it wasn’t known whether the victim had contracted LD at a private residence or at the Veterans’ Home, where he had been a frequent visitor.
In response to the current outbreak, senior investigators from agencies including the IDPH, IDVA, and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency have been called in to work with veterans’ home, county, and city officials. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has also visited the Quincy facility this week to tour the newly-completed water facility following the announcement of the two new diagnoses on Monday.
The two victims were returned to the Veterans’ Home following treatment at Blessing Hospital.
New Release. “Two Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease Identified in Adams County. New admissions to Quincy Veterans’ Home halted.” Illinois Government News Network (IGNN). Web. 26 Jul. 2016.