Illinois Department of Public Health responds to CDC report - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Illinois Department of Public Health responds to CDC report

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Sign to the front entrance of the Illinois Veterans' Home. Sign to the front entrance of the Illinois Veterans' Home.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

The Illinois Department of Public Health posted the full report filed Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding a recent investigation at Quincy's Illinois Veterans' Home.

Dr Nirav Shah, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health spoke with reporters Friday over the phone to talk about the CDC report. Shah spotlighted the need for changes in the CDC report, saying Blessing Hospital doesn't have the capacity to get legionnaires test results back within 48 hours.    The report says the state needs to speed that process up.

He also pointed to a recommendation that the vets home flush their system more often and put filters on all water access points, and not just the shower heads, which is what's being done currently.

"Let me be absolutely 100 percent unequivocal, if my parents were veterans, I would have no hesitation about having them stay and receive care at the veterans home in Quincy," Shah explained. "I have visited that facility.  I've seen the dedicated staff that are there, and it would not bother me one bit to check them in there if they were veterans."

Shah also talked about why IDPH knew about the outbreak in 2015, but didn't notify the public until six days later. He said there's more to it than that.

"Before we can go public, just as any reporter has a story, we have to get our facts straight," Shah stressed." We have to make sure that before we release something publicly, we can answer the questions that we know that the media and the public will have.

"Those questions in this situation are: who is at risk, where are they getting infected from, and what can be done to keep those folks safe," Shah also said.

In response to some of the CDC's new recommendations, he said none of them are off the table, but some of those solutions could lead to other long-term problems.

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