BATAVIA – Four more cases of Legionnaires' disease have been confirmed at Covenant Living at the Holmstad in Batavia, according to a press release from the Kane County Health Department.
“Two cases were reported to us this week, we received word of an early-onset case from mid-August and an additional case reported this past Saturday,” said Kane County Health Department Executive Director Barbara Jeffers in the release. “We are working closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Covenant Living to monitor this situation.”
Since the initial reporting, Covenant Living has kept residents and employees informed of the situation and has been collaborating with both the state and county on proactive measures underway at the senior living community, the release stated.
“Water testing results are still pending with IDPH to determine if there is a source of legionella bacteria on the Holmstad campus. However, because the safety of our residents, guests, and employees is our top priority, we have proactively and aggressively moved forward with several of the measures that could potentially be advised in the event of a positive result,” said Amanda Gosnell, Covenant Living at the Holmstad executive director, in the news release. “We continue to collaborate closely with water management experts and state and the Kane County health departments and are following all recommendations; under their advisement, we continue to welcome visitors and maintain regular operations.”
Legionnaires' disease is a serious lung infection (pneumonia) that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria. Outbreaks are most commonly associated with buildings or structures that have complex water systems, like hotels, hospitals, long-term care facilities and cruise ships. The bacterium can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made water systems, like hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains, the release stated.
According to the Kane County Health Department, most healthy people do not get Legionnaires' disease after being exposed to Legionella bacteria. People at increased risk of Legionnaire's disease are those 50 years of age or older, or those who have certain risk factors, such as being a current or former smoker, having a chronic disease, or having a weakened immune system.
In 2018, Illinois reported 512 cases of Legionnaires’ disease statewide with 251 confirmed to date in 2019.