Earlier this year, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance for reopening buildings that have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because Legionella bacteria is at an increased risk of growing in stagnant water, the CDC published a list of 8 steps business and building owners should take to minimize Legionella growth before opening, which included properly maintaining the building’s water heater to at least 140 Degrees Fahrenheit, cleaning all cooling towers of stagnant pools of water, and flushing out all faucets before use.
As of late September, the CDC has updated its guidance for reopening, particularly for at-risk occupants and invitees. To start, the CDC clarifies that for Legionella growth its introduction into a building’s water system depends upon the amount of time the system was shut down, the temperature that the water heater is set to, the amount of disinfectant in the system before shutdown, and any preexisting colonization of Legionella bacteria. For its update to business owners, the CDC recommends that all occupants wear a “half-face air-purifying filter.” Additionally, any at-risk individual participating in flushing, cooling tower cleaning, or other activity that may generate aerosols should consult with a medical provider before being allowed to participate.
THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.
 For a fuller discussion of the CDC’s recommended steps see our publication dated August 31, 2020