WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Dr. Anne Schuchat, Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to get an update on the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home (IVH) Quincy. Given the failure by the Rauner Administration to adequately address this ongoing crisis, Durbin, along with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL),pressed CDC to take a greater leadership role in helping to address the public health crisis at IVH Quincy in February.
Yesterday, Durbin, along with Duckworth, called Mike Hoffman, Governor Rauner's Senior Advisor on Quincy, to continue to press him to accept the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) offer of technical assistance—including a site visit to IVH Quincy—in tandem with ongoing VA financial support. Mr. Hoffman confirmed to Durbin and Duckworth that Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) has accepted VA’s offer of technical support and a site visit.
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“Despite their assertions otherwise, it has become abundantly clear that the Rauner Administration has failed to adequately address the public health crisis at IVH Quincy in a timely fashion. That is why Senator Duckworth and myself urged the CDC to step in and take a greater leadership role,” said Durbin. “Since 2015, the CDC has done an outstanding job providing the state of Illinois with access to the agency’s invaluable expertise and federal resources. I will continue to work with Dr. Schuchat so that the lives of veterans living at IVH Quincy—not to mention staff working at the facility and families visiting the facility—are safe.”
In February, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed four additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease among residents of IVH Quincy—bringing the total number of confirmed legionellosis cases at IVH Quincy to 67 since 2015. According to the CDC, it is rare and worrisome that cases of Legionnaires’ disease are being found at this time of year, when the weather trends colder.
Over the years, CDC experts have been deployed to IVH Quincy for on-the-ground consultation and senior CDC officials have testified at hearings on the outbreaks. Further, the CDC has—on numerous occasions over the past few years—provided the state with comprehensive recommendations regarding how the legionellosis epidemic at IVH Quincy could better be addressed. In a letter to Dr. Schuchat in February, Durbin and Duckworth stated that, without the CDC’s vital involvement to date, they believe this crisis would be even worse.
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