Vets home resident diagnosed with COVID-19, Legionnaires’ disease ‘responding well’ to treatment

Vets home resident diagnosed with COVID-19, Legionnaires’
disease ‘responding well’ to treatment 1

A
resident of the state veterans home in Quincy has tested positive
for both COVID-19 and Legionnaires’ disease. | Michael
Kipley/Quincy Herald-Whig, distributed by the Associated Press

The Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy was notified on Dec. 22 of
the resident’s positive test for Legionnaires’ disease, a
severe pneumonia caused by the inhalation of waterborne
bacteria.

SPRINGFIELD — A resident at the state-run veterans home in
Quincy who tested positive for both COVID-19 and Legionnaires’
disease is responding well to treatment, a spokesperson for the
Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday.

The Veterans Affairs Department and the Illinois Department of
Public Health had announced last week they were investigating the
case of the resident, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 30
and also showed pneumonia symptoms on Dec. 16, according to a
department news release.

The Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy was notified on Dec. 22 of
the resident’s positive test for Legionnaires’ disease, a
severe pneumonia caused by the inhalation of waterborne
bacteria.

The resident in question lives in Hammond Hall, which had not
previously reported the presence of Legionella, the type of
bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. Hammond Hall is one
of six residential halls at the Quincy facility in Adams
County.

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No other residents have tested positive for Legionnaires’
disease, according to a state Veterans Affairs department
spokesperson.

After the positive Legionnaire’s test was reported on Dec. 22,
Quincy facility staff and officials with the Adams County Health
Department spoke by phone with representatives from the state
health department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Dr. Avery Hart, a
medical consultant for the state veterans’ homes on behalf of the
state health department, according to the news release.

“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,”
according to the state veterans department news release.

Infectious disease staff from the state health department “are
working with the facility to collect information and further
investigate the resident’s illness.”

The last legionella test at Hammond Hall was conducted Oct. 27
and was negative, according to the news release.

The last case of Legionnaires’ disease was reported at the
Quincy facility on Dec. 21, 2019, in Fifer Hall, according to the
release. An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease between 2015 and
2018 killed 13 residents at Quincy.

The single incident of Legionnaires’ disease at the Quincy
home comes as the facility also faces an outbreak of COVID-19.

As of Dec. 26, the Quincy facility has reported five resident
deaths related to COVID-19, 123 total positive cases among
residents and 143 total positive cases among employees since the
pandemic began.

The state-run veterans homes at Manteno and LaSalle have also
reported COVID-19 outbreaks, prompting Gov. J.B. Pritzker last
month to send members of the Illinois National Guard to assist
staff with administrative tasks at all three veterans homes
experiencing outbreaks.

As of Dec. 26, the Manteno facility has reported a total of 19
resident coronavirus-related deaths. Since the outbreak began,
Manteno has reported 69 positive cases among residents and 69
positive cases among employees.

As of Dec. 27, the LaSalle facility has reported 34 resident
deaths related to COVID-19 since Nov. 1. Since the start of the
pandemic, 108 residents at LaSalle have tested positive and 105
employees have tested positive.

Three legislative committees are investigating the
administration’s response to the LaSalle outbreak, and the
Illinois Department of Human Services’ acting inspector general
has also announced an investigation into the deaths at LaSalle.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service
covering state government and distributed to more than 400
newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press
Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

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