DPH issues emergency order to Rocky Hill nursing home after water samples test positive for legionella


ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH)– The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has issued an emergency order to a Rocky Hill nursing home after water samples tested positive for legionella.

This facility now has two days to come up with a plan on how to fix this. There are currently 64 people who live in the building.

The State Department of Public Health has issued an emergency order directing immediate action to be taken by the Apple Rehab nursing home in Rocky Hill. The DPH says the facility failed to respond adequately after drinking and bathing water samples tested positive for legionella.

According to the CDC, legionella bacteria are found naturally in freshwater environments but can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in a building’s water system.

During an investigation of the facility’s water management program, the DPH says they noted several problems including failing to establish and maintain a plan to mitigate the risk of legionella and other waterborne pathogens.

This emergency order directs Apple Rehab to do several things including use only bottled water, test all residents for legionella, correct deficiencies, and not admit any new residents.

We reached out to Apple Rehab about this emergency order. Their vice president of operations released this statement to News 8:

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.

This isn’t the first time the DPH has investigated concerns at this facility. Back in July of 2019, the DPH was notified two cases of legionnaires’ disease, a very serious lunch infection caused by exposure to the legionella bacteria, were confirmed among residents.

Legionella was also found in water samples — tested by the facility. While the CDC says most healthy people don’t get legionnaire’s disease after being exposed to the bacteria, being 50 years or older, as well as having certain risk factors. can increase your chances of getting sick.

Thursday, the Metropolitan District water provider and treatment company for Rocky Hill and the surrounding region announced their water was not the cause of the legionella breakout at the Rocky Hill nursing home’s water system.

Their statement said, in part:

The Metropolitan District (MDC) is advising customers that there are no water quality concerns with MDC’s water supply and the MDC potable water is not the source of the Legionella presently under investigation by the Connecticut Department of Public Health at Apple Rehab in Rocky
Hill. The water quality issue is site-specific to the facility.

MDC staff obtained water samples at distribution compliance sampling sites within the general water service area of the facility. MDC potable water samples met all drinking water standards for parameters tested and confirmed the MDC is not the source of Legionella at the facility. This information was shared with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Drinking Water Section, and any inquiries regarding this incident should be directed to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

Water Quality Reports from MDC can be found here: https://themdc.org/what-we-do/drinkingwater/water-quality.

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