Governor Bruce Rauner just ended a week-long stay at the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Quincy, the facility where 13 people have died from Legionnaires' Disease since 2015.
The governor boasted about the facility, its staff, and of course the veterans who live there. He discussed changes made to keep the home safe, like chemical treatments for the water, flushing pipes regularly, strictly monitoring residents, and speeding up testing for the disease from four days to a few hours.
However, state Senator Sam McCann, a Republican from Plainview, says the governor’s response is too little, too late. “Instead of being to always try to be in campaign mode, get off the Harley, get off the skates, and do your job. And doing your job would have been to have gone there two and a half years ago and held this press conference.”
The governor opposes closing the home; McCann says he thinks the state should build a new facility in the same location.
On Tuesday, McCann also called for Public Health director Nirav Shah to step down.
In a statement, Dr. Shah says, "I stand behind IDPH’s response at the Veterans’ Home in Quincy and the immediate actions we took to protect the health and safety of veterans and staff. I respectfully disagree with Senator McCann."
The governor's office released a statement that says "after spending a week at the Quincy Veterans Home, the Governor laid out not just the immediate actions that were taken in 2015, and the progress in the meantime, but also outlined a plan for continuous improvement at the home. He looks forward to working with legislators, local stakeholders, Director Shah and Director Jeffries to implement that plan and keep our veterans safe and healthy."