The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health are investigating a single case of Legionnaires’ disease in a resident at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.
According to IDVA and IDPH, the resident tested positive for COVID-19 on November 30 and presented with symptoms of pneumonia last Wednesday. The resident was treated in the ER and tested for legionella. IDVA received notification of the positive test on Tuesday. The resident is responding well to medical treatment and is recovering at the Quincy facility.
Notifications have been sent to families of residents, posted on the IDVA and IDPH websites, and posted throughout the facility.
The staff has been notified during shift meetings. IDVA and IDPH say residents and staff will continue to be monitored closely for symptoms that may be related to legionella.
Legionella has not previously been found in Hammond Hall, the building in which this resident resides.
Accordingly, the building was on a quarterly testing schedule. The last legionella test was conducted on October 27 and was negative. No other cases have been identified and IVHQ continues to follow its plans to monitor residents for respiratory illness.
New piping was recently installed in the facility which receives water directly from the City of Quincy. A pall filter was installed on the pipe leading into the building.
Officials tested the areas the resident was in as well as the up flow and down flow of those rooms. These included Hammond Hall and the Fifer building. Results from such tests typically take 11-13 days to return.
The last case of Legionnaires’ disease at the Quincy Veterans’ Home was December 21st of last year and was in the Fifer building. Since that time, the Fifer building has been on a water testing schedule conducted every two weeks. IDPH infectious disease staff are working with the facility to collect information and further investigate the resident’s illness.
A Legionnaires outbreak began at the facility in 2015, loomed over former Bruce Rauner’s entire term as governor and was a major campaign point of current Governor J.B. Pritzker. Since that outbreak, 29 residents of the Quincy facility have died and 116 people were sickened. Beginning in 2018, the state has allocated $235 million for new construction on the grounds to attempt to curtail the virus, including a new wastewater treatment facility on the grounds as well as new living quarters. Despite a lack of physical movement in construction, the state has said that construction is set to begin some time in the next year.