Most water-use restrictions lifted at Mount Carmel Grove City amid Legionnaires outbreak

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Most water restrictions at Mount Carmel Grove City were lifted Thursday, and the hospital expects all restrictions to be removed by the end of the week, officials said.

The restrictions were in place after a Legionella bacteria outbreak at the $361 million hospital. Thirteen patients have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

The water on floors two through seven — which includes all patient floors — is now 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.

Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said in a statement that she was assured by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the water filters have a “30-plus year history of application effectiveness.”

Streck said the hospital does expect the number of diagnoses to increase because Legionnaires’ disease has an incubation period of up to two weeks in some instances. The first confirmed cases came on May 30 and 31.

A patient who was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia, died Sunday, although the official cause of death hasn’t been determined.

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.

As of Thursday afternoon, the restrictions were still in place on the hospital’s first floor and lower level, but Streck said they will be removed by the end of the week “if all goes as planned.”

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