By SARAH MANSUR
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD — A resident at the state-run veterans home in Quincy has tested positive for both COVID-19 and Legionnaires’ disease, according to a news release from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday the agencies are investigating the case of Legionnaires’ disease in a single resident, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 30 and showed pneumonia symptoms on Dec. 16, according to the news release.
The Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy was notified on Dec. 22 of the resident’s positive test for Legionnaires’ disease, which is a severe pneumonia caused by the inhalation of waterborne bacteria.
No other residents have tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease, according to an IDVA spokesperson.
The positive resident 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.
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 Illinois Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Dr. Avery Hart, who is a medical consultant for the IDVA homes on behalf of IDPH, 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 IDVA news release. “IDPH infectious disease staff are working with the facility to collect information and further investigate the resident’s illness.”
On Monday, an IDVA spokesperson said the resident who tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease and COVID-19 is responding well to treatment.
The last legionella test at Hammond Hall was conducted Oct. 27 and was negative, according to the IDVA 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. JB 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.