Yesterday Mayor Bill de Blasio updated Bronx residents on the developing Legionnaire Disease crisis in the South Bronx. With no real new hard facts the mayor reiterated what was said the night before at Town Hall meeting at the Bronx Museum. DeBalsio tried to stress that the height of this epidemic was reached on July 30th and that new cases of Legionnaire Disease were now decreasing. There had been seven deaths with close to 100 total cases of Legionnaire Disease found.
I was able to get two questions in at the Press conference. My first question was to the mayor, asking him if he could assure the fans who would be attending the Yankee game since Legionnaire Disease is an airborne disease. I stated that one of the cooling tower sites found to be contaminated was only four blocks from Yankee Stadium. Mayor de Blasio tried to side step the question by saying that all contaminated cooling towers were found and all five were cleaned and decontaminated. My second question was to the Executive director of Lincoln Hospital one of the five sites whose cooling tower was found to have the Legionnaire Disease bacteria. I asked when the cooling tower was last cleaned and was told that OSHA rules require the cooling towers to be cleaned every six months, and that the Lincoln Hospital cooling tower was cleaned on March 15th 2015.
The mayor during the Press conference stated that he will be working with the city council to get new legislation passed to further address the inspection and cleaning of cooling towers in the future. That was my question to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito the night of the Town Hall meeting at the Bronx museum.
STATEMENT FROM BP DIAZ RE: Mayoral Support for Legislation on Legionnaires' Disease
“It is encouraging that Mayor de Blasio has joined my call for new legislation in response to this current outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease.
“As the scope and depth of the outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease in the South Bronx came into focus last week, I proposed new legislation that would allow the city to be proactive—and not reactive—to such outbreaks. Together, with Council Member Vanessa Gibson, we are introducing legislation creating an inspection mechanism for those systems where Legionnaires' Disease can thrive and to ensure appropriate follow-up inspections so that the disease does not return.
“It is the responsibility of government to protect the health and well-being of the public, and this common sense proposal will help do just that. It cannot be forgotten that seven Bronx residents have died during this outbreak. An appropriate inspection mechanism could have saved lives,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.