Public Notice: OGH Water Supply
Updated: Jan 14, 2020
Contact: Lynsey McAnally FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OGH Water Supply Notice
August 2, 2018 - On Tuesday, July 17, 2018, Ochiltree General Hospital received test results which identified potential Legionella bacteria in its water supply. Those results were regarded as preliminary because they may have indicated a false reading. Subsequently, OGH began a series of tests Tuesday July 17 through Thursday July 19. Of those 28 samples, 3 have now returned positive results.
OGH takes water management very seriously. We regularly test our water supply to detect contamination and apply required infection control measures to protect patients, employees and medical staff. As a precaution, OGH has shut down the water supply to some areas of the Hospital, and limited access in other areas (except when engaged in flushing the system – a process recommended to clear the bacteria). During this time the Hospital has continued to operate using bottled water and ice. Showers were not permitted. The situation did not affect any other Hospital utilities, such as the air handling system. No reports of patients or staff being infected with Legionnaires’ disease have been received. OGH places a high priority on the quality of its water supply and patient safety at the facility.
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection that a person can get by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria. Clinical features of pneumonia, fever and cough usually begin 2-14 days after exposure to Legionella. The majority of Legionnaires’ disease cases are linked to drinking water systems that supply Legionella bacteria to faucets, showerheads, humidifiers, ice machines, cooling systems and whirlpool spas. Legionella bacteria are also found in natural water sources such as streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and mud at low levels. Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported in the summer and fall. Legionnaires’ disease can be substantially prevented by stopping Legionella bacteria from entering the water supply and distribution systems in our homes and buildings.
There is no evidence that the Legionella bacteria can or will be spread person-to-person.
OGH has a 50+ year history of providing a safe and caring environment. We are engaging in those activities as recommended by expert organizations, including the CDC, so that we may continue that tradition of providing for our community. At this time, in recognition of that which we do, we have chosen to continue operations in service to our community. We will provide regular updates throughout this episode; thank you for your support.