Kane County Health officials are investigating the source of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that has sent four residents of a Batavia retirement community to the hospital.
The Kane County Health Department was notified late Thursday that four residents at Covenant Living at the Holmstad had been hospitalized with confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, said Susan Stack, the department’s public information officer. She didn’t know Saturday whether the four residents are still in the hospital.
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection spread by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria, according to the health department. Outbreaks are most commonly associated with buildings or other structures, such as cruise ships, with complex water systems.
Stack said health department investigators have been at Covenant Living since Thursday night and have not yet identified the source.
“They are going over everything with a fine-tooth comb,” Stack said. “Finding where this came from is the No. 1 priority.”
All residents and staff members have been informed of the situation, according to Randy Eilts, director of public relations and communications for Covenant Living, and officials plan to hold a meeting Tuesday so residents can ask questions.
The company said in a news release its top priority is the well-being of residents, and all precautionary steps recommended by the Kane County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health are being taken. Covenant Living adheres to a strict water treatment plan to address Legionella, which includes regularly performing tests and treating water sources, according to the release.
“They’re doing everything right,” Stack said of the management at Covenant Living. “They’re a great company to work with, and they’ve got a handle on this.”
Stack said Legionnaires’ disease does not spread through human-to-human contact, so it is not a hazard to the public.
Eilts declined to comment on whether Covenant Living had restricted visitor access to the 38-acre retirement community. Stack said it’s likely any visitors would have had very limited exposure, if any, to the Legionella bacteria.
In other recent local outbreaks of the disease, health officials announced in mid-August they had confirmed two cases linked to a Schaumburg hotel; last November, there were three cases confirmed at a senior living community in McHenry.