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DPH issues order suspending admission at Rocky Hill nursing home after water tests positive for Legionella

Officials say management did not respond adequately to situation
Credit: FOX61

ROCKY HILL, Conn. — The Connecticut Department of Public Health issued an emergency order Wednesday directing immediate actions by the Apple Rehab nursing home in Rocky Hill after the facility failed to respond adequately to drinking and bathing water samples testing positive for Legionella.

In a statement, Acting Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford said: "The actions include a suspension of new admissions and remedial actions to protect the health and safety of residents."

Apple Rehab, located on Elm Street in Rocky Hill, is a 120-bed chronic and convalescent nursing home. Gifford said it currently has 64 residents.

In 2019, there were two confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease at the facility and one patient died.

Legionella bacteria was found in water samples tested by the facility at that time. 

"However, during an investigation of the water management program at Apple Rehab of Rocky Hill, DPH noted several failures. These failures included, but were not limited to, 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."

The DPH emergency order includes: 

  • Prohibition of admission of new residents
  • The 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.

“DPH will continue to closely monitor this deeply concerning situation and take further action, if necessary, to protect the health and safety of residents,” Gifford said.

On Thursday, the MDC told its customers there are no water quality concerns regarding its water supply. 

After testing water samples, the MDC added its water is not the source of the Legionella and the water met all of the drinking standards. 

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