Legionella bacteria were discovered at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center at the end of October in two patient sicks as well as an ice machine of a new $63 million, 110-room patient tower that opened last year.
It is suspected that these sinks and ice machine are the sources of the outbreak that caused at least two cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the hospital.
The hospital has 475 low-flow faucets and is considering replacing all of them. The hospital has also cleaned all ice machines. In the meantime, St. Joseph’s has installed 1,000 white filters over the faucets throughout the hospital.
The investigation is still continuing, however. Dr. Sandra Sulik, a hospital vice president has said “We will test each part of the system so we get a representative sample of the entire water system.”
During the beginningstages of the investigation, tap water use was restricted and bottled water was provided to patients instead for uses other than hand washing.
According to Kathy Ruscitto, President and CEO of the hospital, St. Joseph’s actions in addressing the Legionella problem has exceeded the state health department’s recommendations.
Further, St. Joseph’s has set up a 24-hour hotline to answer any questions. The phone number for this hotline is (315) 448-5854
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