Water restrictions were lifted June 6 at the Mount Carmel Grove City hospital, where the total number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease is 14.
The water restrictions were lifted on floors 2 through 7, which includes all patient floors, Dr. Richard Streck, chief clinical operations officer for Mount Carmel Health System, said in a statement.
“We have installed temporary state-of-the-art water filters that provide an extremely effective barrier to legionella transmission, which means water is now safe to use on floors 2 through 7,” Streck said.
The hospital is taking measures to implement “a long-term solution to ensure legionella is effectively controlled moving forward,” including secondary disinfection and extensive testing, he said.
Mount Carmel and county, state and CDC health officials have brought in legionella risk-management expert Tim Keane to identify possible sources of bacteria and help determine how to resolve the outbreak, which was announced May 31, Streck said.
The hospital’s entire water supply was disinfected June 1 through a process that uses chlorine, he said. Additional disinfection is occurring by constantly adding chlorine to the water system, according to the statement released by the hospital.
The incubation period for Legionnaires' disease is usually between two and 10 days but can last as long as two weeks, Streck said.
It is likely additional people who were at the hospital prior to June 1 will be diagnosed with the disease over the next several days, he said.
Franklin County Public Health is posting updates on the outbreak at 3 p.m. daily at myfcph.org/legionella.
As of June 6, the department reports, 14 people who were at Mount Carmel between April 27 and May 31 have been diagnosed.
The cases involve seven men and seven women with an age range from 50 to 90, officials said.
One person who contracted the disease died June 2, but the cause of death has not been determined.