SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) notified Senator Paul Schimpf on Wednesday, Feb. 14, that a patient at the Chester Mental Health Center in Chester, Ill. has tested positive for Legionnaires Disease. The patient is currently in stable condition and staff are heightening their clinical vigilance while actively monitoring for additional cases.
Out of an abundance of caution, IDHS has also turned off the water to the unit where the patient lives. The agency has also provided bottled water for staff and other residents.
“My number one priority is to ensure the safety of the residents and staff at the facility,” Schimpf said. “IDHS has been transparent and proactive, they’re acting swiftly to reach out to residents’ families and keep everyone abreast of any new developments.”
IDHS is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to determine the potential source of the bacteria. IDPH environmental engineers will be on the grounds this week to gather data and begin collecting water samples.
“Although legionella is a threat that needs to be taken seriously, it’s a bacteria that is naturally occurring in the environment. It’s fairly widespread and can be found in facilities where older plumbing is present,” Schimpf said. “The bacteria is predominantly threatening to older individuals and those who have preexisting respiratory health issues.”
As we move forward, Sen. Schimpf will continue communicating with IDHS while they seek to ascertain the source of the bacteria and ensure the safety of staff and patients.
Senator Schimpf serves as the Republican spokesman for the Senate’s Veterans Affairs Committee and is a member of the Senate’s Agriculture; Commerce and Economic Development; Financial Institutions; Telecommunications and Info Technology; and Judiciary committees.
About Sen. Paul Schimpf
Sen. Schimpf took the Oath of Office during the Inauguration of the 100th General Assembly, Jan. 11, 2017 at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. The 58th Senate District includes all or parts of Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, Randolph, Monroe, St. Clair, Washington and Union Counties and represents more than 220,000 Illinois citizens. Discover more at senatorschimpf.com and find him on Facebook.