1/9/2018 1:56:00 PM Health director says he would put father at Quincy home
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health says he wouldn’t hesitate to place his elderly father at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.
Thirteen residents at the home have died since 2015 because of complications of Legionnaires’ disease.
Dr. Nirav Shah says he has seen how well staff cares for the 349 residents at the home.
He says that “if my father were a veteran and he needed long-term care, I would not hesitate for a second putting him at the home at Quincy.”
Shah is testifying before a joint House-Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in Chicago.
The director also says the agency’s website has incorrect information about Legionnaires’ disease.
Democratic Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego questioned Dr. Sha Tuesday at a legislative hearing about when the department informed the public about the 2015 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.
Kifowit thought the public should have been told earlier in August 2015 based on IDPH website information that Legionnaires’ has a gestation period of three to five days.
Shah says that will be corrected because the gestation period is 10 to 12 days.
The director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs also says one reason Legionnaires’ disease continues to appear at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy is because officials are watching for it.
The sprawling facility in western Illinois has been the site of 13 deaths from Legionnaires’ since 2015. The bacteria that causes it is in water vapor which residents and staff might inhale.
Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries says “We continue to find more cases because we are looking for more cases.
Jeffries say the number of cases is down dramatically because officials have installed filters on faucets, heated water and chemically treated it to remove the bacteria.
Democratic Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park is chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention representative will also attend.
The CDC declared in a report last week that eliminating the bacteria from the home’s water is unlikely.