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Water Restrictions

Learn more about the temporary water restrictions at CVPH and the steps we are taking to keep our patients and people safe.

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Last Updated: Monday, March 29

As safety is our priority, CVPH is temporarily restricting the use of unfiltered water in our main facility to reduce the risk of our patients, visitors and staff of acquiring Legionnaires’ Disease, caused by the water borne pathogen Legionella. While there have been no recent or current incidents of Legionnaires’ Disease, the water restriction is out of extreme caution and on the recommendation by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). These restrictions do not impact our medical offices located at
206, 210 and 214 Cornelia Street.

Do Not, At This Time:

  • Drink the water or use it for oral hygiene in our main facility. Bottled water is available to you free of charge.
  • Consume the ice from the ice machines. It can however be used for therapeutic applications (icepacks, lab transports, etc.). Limited ice for consumption will be made available on each unit.
  • Tub bathe or shower using the water. Bed baths in a basin (not standing over a sink) are acceptable. Staff are here to assist you.

You Should Feel Safe & Comfortable To:

  • Use alcohol based hand sanitizer for hand hygiene or staff can provide you with a wet wash cloth.
  • Take or receive a bed bath from a basin at the bedside since this water is not inhaled.
  • Drink brewed coffee.
  • Ask your care team questions so you feel secure in steps we’re taking to care for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I wash my hands but the staff can?

Legionella is spread by inhaling water particles (aerosolization) that contains the bacteria as it is forced out of a tap or shower head. The staff are wearing appropriate masks.


Why can’t I shower but can have a bed bath?

The masked health care worker can draw the warm water into the basin and bring it to you. You cannot shower as this creates aerosolization similar to hand washing.

 

Why doesn’t this restriction effect the Cornelia Street buildings or offsite campus locations?

The other buildings have different water lines.

 

If Legionnaires' is spread by water droplets being breathed in why can’t I drink the water?

There is a very small risk that you could aspirate the water into your lungs.To date we know of NO patients or staff effected by this.

 

What are the most likely sources of infection?

Showering, decorative fountains, cooling towers, hot tubs, air conditioners and drinking water containing the bacteria and aspirating (several mLs) into the lungs.

 

How is CVPH monitoring for this moving forward?

The Infection Prevention Team will be conducting ongoing patient surveillance through sputum cultures for those at risk.

 

How many Legionnaires' cases has the hospital seen in the last year?

Since January 2020, there have been zero hospital acquired Legionella cases. In the same time frame three patients were admitted with community acquired Legionnaires’ Disease.

About Legionnaires' Disease

Legionnaires' Disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires' Disease cannot be passed from person to person and is treatable if detected early. There are currently no incidents of Legionnaires’ Disease at CVPH.

Risk Factors Include:

  • More than 50 years of age
  • Current or former smoker
  • Having chronic lung disease
  • Weakened immune system cause by:
    • Diabetes
    • Cancer
    • Kidney Failure
    • Medication

Symptoms Include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches

Common Sources of Legionella Bacteria that Cause Infection Are:

  • Showering
  • Cooling towers
  • Decorative fountains
  • Hot tubs
  • Air conditioners
  • Drinking water containing the bacteria and aspirating (several mL’s) into the lungs

In accordance with New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) regulations, CVPH samples its potable water systems regularly.

The NYSDOH standard states that if 30% or more of the samples sent for testing contain, even trace amounts of Legionella, the water borne pathogen that causes Legionnaires' Disease, facilities are required to institute control measures.

Several control measures have been implemented, but have not been successful eliminating trace amounts in our domestic hot water.

Working with the NYSDOH, we’ve taken a number of measures to protect your safety while we continue to address the detectable levels of Legionella.

We continue to make changes to the essential components of our water system to eliminate the risk of Legionella growth. The NYSDOH standard, however, requires that three consecutive testing cycles, at prescribed intervals, meet the 30% interval.

 

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we address this issue.