A Grove City woman has been identified as the patient diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease who died during an outbreak at Mount Carmel Grove City , where most water restrictions had been lifted June 6.
Deanna "Dee" Rezes, 75, died June 2 at the hospital, where she had been admitted May 28 with flu-like symptoms, according to Matthew Wolf, an attorney representing her family who confirmed her identity June 6. She was diagnosed May 31 with Legionnaires' disease.
Franklin County Public Health has said the official cause of Rezes' death has not yet been determined.
She was married for more than 60 years to Thomas Rezes and had four married adult sons, Jeff, Tim, James and Joe; 16 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. A celebration of life was scheduled June 7 at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, 3005 Holt Road, Grove City.
Rezes originally went to the Mount Carmel Grove City hospital May 18 for breathing troubles that were diagnosed as pulmonary hypertension, Wolf said. She was treated with medication and released, but then she started to decline and had to be taken back to the hospital by emergency squad on May 28.
Wolf said he is trying to help the family get answers.
"They are sad and grieving and a little confused. How does this happen?" Wolf said. "They really want answers. They're entitled to that. We're going to find out what happened."
A Legionnaires' disease outbreak at the hospital was announced May 31. In response to the outbreak, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton issued an adjudication order that required the hospital to take several steps, including flushing all hot and cold water lines and fixtures throughout the seven-floor facility, implementing immediate remediation practices to disinfect hot and cold water lines and fixtures, testing and cleaning all ice machines and cleaning and servicing the two on-site cooling towers.
Mount Carmel Grove City officials said they expected all water restrictions placed on the new $361 million facility to be removed by the end of last week.
The water on floors two through seven -- including all patient floors -- is safe to use after temporary filters were installed, according to Dr. Richard Streck, chief clinical-operations officer. The water filters provide an "extremely effective barrier to legionella transmission," he said in a statement.
Close to 2,000 water filters have been put in place, Acton said June 6. Acton said officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assured her of the filters' quality.
The source of the outbreak hasn't yet been determined, she said.
Mount Carmel tested the water in Grove City in February, but a delay in the hospital's opening led to water sitting in pipes and may have contributed to the outbreak, said Rebecca Fugitt, assistant chief for the state health department's Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection. The hospital opened April 28.
Acton said the number of diagnoses will likely increase because Legionnaires' disease has an incubation period of up to 15 days. The first cases were confirmed on May 30 and 31.
During the water-use restriction, patients couldn't shower and only bottled water and bagged ice were used. The hospital put its water system through a series of disinfecting measures.
Acton said Ohio could do more to prevent these outbreaks, including developing a licensing program for hospitals and updating plumbing regulations.
"We'll learn from this," she said.