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Two Illinois Veterans' Home residents diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs announced Tuesday that two residents at the vets' home in Quincy have been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.

The state completed an extensive renovation of the facility's water system this year after 12 people died last summer as a result of the disease. Dozens of others were sickened. But health officials never found a source for the outbreak.

"We are very concerned about our residents and staff the Quincy Veterans’ Home and we are continuing to implement every necessary precaution to ensure the health and safety of all. That is our top priority," IDVA Director Erica Jeffries stated in a release. "As an additional precaution, we are halting all new admissions to the home." 

A veterans' home official says the first case was found last week and another was found Monday. 

"I think it is concerning, but at this point we aren't alarmed because we know we are doing everything possible and our lab results are speaking for themselves," Interim Administrator Cathy Houston said. 

Illinois Senator John Sullivan says it's disheartening to see more cases emerge.

"Our first concern is the care of the veterans and of course the employees who work here," Sullivan said. 

Sullivan called the Department of Veterans Affairs as soon as he heard the news.

"I was disappointed, frustrated, and I immediately was back on the phone and tried to find out what's being done to address the problem," Sullivan added.

IDPH is working with the Adams County Health Department on the situation.

"We are aware of the situation at the Illinois Veterans' Home," ACHD spokesperson Shay Drummond said on the phone. "We are working with the respective agencies to figure out what caused these new cases."

Adams County Health Department officials declined an interview until a formal press conference Wednesday.

Officials from the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs, Public Health and even governor Bruce Rauner will be at the veterans' home Wednesday morning to talk about what they know and figure out where these recent cases came from.

Officials say because the two newest diagnosis are from preliminary tests, more tests will be done to confirm that it is in fact Legionnaire's disease, meanwhile officials plan to test the water each day. 

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