At least seven cases of Legionnaires’ Disease have been confirmed in individuals who recently received treatment at Mount Carmel Grove City, hospital officials said Friday night.
The hospital says it is partnering with Franklin County Public Health and the Ohio Department of Health in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control to identify the source of the bacteria. They will continue testing over the next few weeks.
In another statement Friday night, the Ohio Department of Health says the director issued an adjudication order for the Grove City branch to take immediate action to contain the outbreak. The director says if the hospital fails to take the appropriate actions, it will be ordered to cease accepting new patients.
“To protect patients, employees, and visitors, we have acted swiftly today after my team unraveled a connection between three confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in former patients at Mount Carmel Grove City,” said Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton. “Working in collaboration with Franklin County Public Health, I issued an adjudication order to immediately reduce the risk of further infection. It is our understanding that hospital officials have begun implementing the steps outlined in the order, tonight.”
The actions the hospital must take are outlined below:
- Flush all hot and cold water lines and fixtures throughout the entire seven-floor, 200-bed facility
- Implement immediate remediation practices to disinfect hot and cold water lines and fixtures
- Test and clean all ice machines
- Ensure the two on-sight cooling towers are cleaned and serviced
- Provide any and all test results to the Ohio Department of Health
- Provide water management plan to the Ohio Department of Health
“We are running additional tests on water sources throughout the hospital, and our entire water supply is undergoing supplemental disinfection. We’re confident that we can safely maintain full services of the hospital while we study this situation,” a spokesperson for Mount Carmel Health System said in a statement.
Officials from the Department of Health and Franklin County Public Health will conduct an environmental health assessment of the facility Saturday morning.
In the adjudication order, the Department of Health says the first Legionnaires’ case occurred one day after the hospital branch’s April 28 opening and stayed at the facility through May 7. Subsequent cases stayed at the facility from May 8 through May 20. Onset cases ranged from May 12 to May 29 and were confirmed through urine antigen testing.
The hospital says while the risk of developing the disease is low in most people, individuals with chronic, underlying medical conditions are at increased risk. They are asking anyone who has been hospitalized and developed a cough, muscle aches, headaches, fever chills or shortness of breath to contact their doctor.
The Mount Carmel branch in Grove City opened just over a month ago on April 28.