Hearing to address Legionella outbreak at downstate veterans home

QUINCY — The Illinois General Assembly’s two veterans committees are scheduled to hold a joint legislative hearing to address the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a veterans home.

Thirteen residents at the Illinois Veterans Home have died of the disease over the past three years.

State Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, toured the home in Quincy on Tuesday to prepare for the hearing, The Quincy Herald-Whig reported. It’ll be held in Chicago on Jan. 9.

“If I’m going to hold legislative hearings, I have to know what I’m talking about, and I have to see the site physically for myself,” Cullerton said.

Cullerton, who is the chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Veterans Affairs Committee, said while he’s concerned that the disease is still an issue at the home, he wants to keep the facility in operation. He said he would like to see it grow to serve more veterans.

“The flagship of our veterans facilities needs to stay open, needs to serve residents as best it can,” Cullerton said.

He said the hearing will focus on the reoccurrence of the disease at the home and that will include a variety of agencies and individuals with insight into the outbreak.

Cullerton said it’s important for the General Assembly to get to the root of the issue and “find out exactly what was known and who knew what.”

–Associated Press

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