Schumer: Regulation needed to prevent Legionella outbreaks

Schumer: Regulation needed to prevent Legionella outbreaks

SYRACUSE -- St. Joseph's Hospital did not receive the Legionella test results it was expecting on Monday, and officials say they don't have a timetable of when to expect them.

Those test results would give the hospital a definitive answer to whether or not Legionella bacteria is present in its water system. This all comes after three patients at the hospital were diagnosed with Legionnaire's Disease, leaving one person dead.

The hospital has said its taking every necessary precaution and then some as it waits for those test results to come back, but some people in the community are skeptical.

"People might get sick. You don't know what's going to happen, you don't know what they might catch, or how they might react to it," said Destiny Hayes.

"It's scary. You expect to be safe when you go into a hospital, precautions to be taken and that you don't contract something extra," said Helen Baildon.

Monday U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer said it's time to take action.

"The bottom line is this is an impending health crisis and we cannot stand idly by," said Senator Schumer.

According to the CDC, up to 18,000 people are hospitalized for the disease in the U.S. each year. Senator Schumer says it's something that is clearly preventable. He wants to add new regulations and testing for hospitals in the hope of preventing future outbreaks.

"This is not we don't know the source, we don't know where it comes from," said Senator Schumer. "We know where it comes from: water cooling towers."

Senator Schumer says he's pushing for more federal funding for the CDC so they can further research the disease, as well as pay closer attention to hospitals' water supplies.

"The CDC is at fault here. They should have done more on Legionnaires' Disease, particularly in the last few years because there's been an uptick," said Senator Schumer.

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