ROCKY HILL, CT (WFSB) -- An emergency order has been issued for a Rocky Hill nursing home after water samples testing positive for Legionella.
The order was issued for Apple Rehab in Rocky Hill, which currently has 64 residents.
Department of Public Health officials said the facility failed to respond adequately when Legionella was found in samples of water used for drinking and bathing.
In 2019, the facility had an outbreak of Legionnaires Disease. Two patients contracted the disease and one person died.
While that's not the case right now, the state reports the bacteria that causes the disease was detected in the water.
“The DPH emergency order includes: Prohibition of admission of new residents; requirement to use bottled water; retrospective surveillance review to identify residents with pneumonia of unknown etiology; testing of all residents for Legionella; environmental assessments and sampling activities; establishment of a water sampling plan; remediation/decontamination of possible environmental sources when identified; contracting with an independent contractor with expertise in waterborne pathogens to conduct a water management review, remediation and to repair/replace/correct identified deficiencies; provision of a comprehensive plan of correction to DPH by April 16.”
The bacteria can grow and spread in water systems like shower heads, faucets, tubs and other water sources.
If anyone inhales droplets of the contaminated water, Legionnaires Disease, a serious type of pneumonia, can develop.
In 2017 and 2018, federal officials directed nursing facilities to develop and follow procedures that would “inhibit microbial growth in building water systems that reduce the risk of growth and spread of Legionella and other opportunistic pathogens in water.”
However, DPH officials noted several failures during an investigation into Apple Rehab’s water management program, including: failing to maintain a water management plan to mitigate the risk of Legionella and other waterborne pathogens; and failure to establish and maintain an infection prevention and control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary, and comfortable environment and to help prevent the development and transmission of waterborne pathogen diseases and infections.
“DPH will continue to closely monitor this deeply concerning situation and take further action, if necessary, to protect the health and safety of residents,” said Acting Commissioner Deidre Gifford.
In a statement Apple Rehab said “Apple Rehab Rocky Hill is working closely with the Department of Public Health and complying with all recommendations to ensure water safety through a water management plan. The current water management program ensures the use of safe water at all times. The safety of our residents, staff, and visitors is our priority."