McSweeney urges swift state action at Quincy veterans home

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"Gov. Bruce Rauner showered and drank the water at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy for the last week during his stay at the facility where 13 people have died of Legionnaires" disease since 2015.

Frese thanked the witnesses for their testimony, assuring them lawmakers will continue to care.

"I reject the idea that you had to choose between improving the care and taking initial remedial measures and issuing a press release", said Rep. Michael Halpin, D-Rock Island.

According to the CDC, people can contract Legionnaire's disease if they breathe in small droplets of water containing the bacteria legionella, which is found naturally in freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams.

"I've visited the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy to investigate the water infrastructure problems".

In 2015, Legionnaires' killed a dozen residents of the Quincy home; 46 cases were reported that year. Posner said he's seen cases of Legionella being present in water systems for up to 20 years.

A report of a lawsuit by 11 families against the state last month increased pressure on Rauner for a response. She said there are multiple tests per day being done on the water system at Quincy in the aftermath of the outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report that the possibility of future cases can not be eliminated.

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"I think that what we need to do from my preliminary assessment is build a new facility", McSweeney said, adding even though he is one of the most fiscally conservative representatives, he would support the funding needed.

Shah says that moving vulnerable, elderly populations can cause "transfer trauma"-one of the reasons that residents were not promptly moved out of the Quincy home". The first case of the waterborne illness was identified in late July 2015, and a second case was diagnosed a few weeks later.

Democratic Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park is chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Cullerton, who served in the U.S. Army, chairs the chamber's Veterans Affairs committee and plans another hearing in Springfield on the matter.

Jeffries said the state has a plan on standby and will move it forward, but didn't provide any details. Erica Jeffries, Rauner's director of veterans' affairs, told a legislative committee on Tuesday that replacing the plumbing would cost up to $30 million.

Rauner made a point to state that he spent his time in the IVH just like the residents do, outside of leaving on Saturday and Sunday for prior commitments and family obligations. Also on Wednesday, ABC7 toured the water treatment facility at the veterans' home with the engineer in charge.

The Quincy Veterans' Home opened in 1886, making it the flagship of our state's veterans' facilities.The home is beloved in the region, with a dedicated volunteer community group known as the "Friends of the Quincy Veterans' Home" that acts as the eyes and ears of the home to ensure our veterans there are always receiving the care they deserve.