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Rauner Details Short-Term Legionnaires' Management Plan During Visit To Quincy Veterans' Home


Governor Bruce Rauner unveiled a plan for dealing with future outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease at the Illinois Veterans' Home in Quincy  during a stop at the home Thursday afternoon.

Rauner said temporarily relocating the roughly 350 residents would be risky, given their ages and health conditions. But he said if that is needed, some could be moved to the shuttered Sycamore Health Care building.

The state is trying to acquire and upgrade the former nursing home, which is several blocks from the Illinois Veterans' Home.

Rauner said the state could also bring in new modular homes with separate water systems.

"Those two combinations together are something we could get done in a few months rather than years if we need to do that," Rauner said. "We are going to evaluate those options very significantly here in the coming days and we will be making announcements on those soon.”

When asked what could prompt an immediate relocation of the veterans -- be it a positive case of Legionnaires Disease or high levels of Legionella bacteria -- Senior Advisor to the Governor Mike Hoffman said nothing is set in stone.

"I don’t think we have the solid answer on that because again we continue to explore all of the options and continue to work on safeguards," Hoffman said. "As the governor mentioned, we need to have a contingency plan in place as quickly as possible. We also have to consult with residents, families and the communities before making any move.”

Hoffman said the state hopes to acquire the former nursing home in a month or two.

Rauner said the long term plan is to build a brand new facility in Quincy. He said that could take a few years, and he does not know how much it will cost or how the state will pay for it.

Hoffman said a request for proposals was sent to architectural firms this week.

Thirteen residents of the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy have died from Legionnaire’s Disease since 2015. Others have been sickened by the pneumonia-like illness.

Jason is the Southeast Iowa News Correspondent. He established Tri States Public Radio's news bureau in Keokuk in September 2003. The bureau has moved from his apartment to the Hotel Iowa before landing in its current location at the Daily Gate City newspaper at 1016 Main. Jason provides short- and long-form news coverage from southeast Iowa, northeast Missouri, and portions of west-central Illinois. Jason covers multiple governmental boards including the Keokuk City Council, the Lee County Board of Supervisors and the Burlington School Board. Jason was born in Burlington, IA and grew up in neighboring Henderson County before graduating from Monmouth High School. He graduated from WIU in 2002 with Bachelor’s Degrees in Communications and History. While in Macomb, he was a member of the WIU Track & Field team, serving as Captain during his senior year. Jason received his Master’s Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield in 2003. He and his wife Jamie have called Quincy home since 2007. They have two dogs (Howie and Sadie), one nephew, one neice and several god-children. During Jason’s free time, he enjoys watching sports, spending time with friends, playing fantasy football and traveling to the Lake of the Ozarks with his wife.
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