By OPEC Staff

Since March, officials from CDCR, California Correctional Health Care Services, the California Department of Public Health San Joaquin County Public Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control have been working together to investigate the source of two confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease at California Health Care Facility (CHCF) in Stockton.

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria that grows in warm water. It is not contagious, but can be acquired when people breathe mists or vapors that contain the bacteria from contaminated water sources.

Environmental testing showed the presence of Legionella at CHCF and the neighboring N.A. Chaderjian and O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facilities.

As a result, CHCF and the Northern California Youth Correctional Center (NCYCC) discontinued the use of potable water, installed self-filtering shower heads, stopped using yard misters and power washers, and shut off the drinking-water fountains and instant hot water dispensers. Bottled water is being provided to everyone who lives and works in the facilities and more self-filtering shower heads are on order.

As part of a comprehensive strategy to eliminate Legionella, a chlorine water treatment process called hyperchlorination began Wednesday morning, April 24, at CHCF and NCYCC, which includes the two juvenile facilities and a training center.

Hyperchlorination is the process used to disinfect water systems. It will take place between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days a week until all plumbed water supply lines and fixtures in the approximately 115 buildings at the Stockton facilities have been treated.

Follow-up environmental testing will be done to ascertain the effectiveness of the hyperchlorination.

CHCF has obtained five mobile shower trailers, some with eight shower units and some with 12. CHCF also has six ADA-compliant shower units that are wheelchair accessible with two showers for each unit. Bottled water will continue to be provided.

In addition to the inmate who passed away in March, one other inmate tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease; he is in good condition after receiving treatment at the institution.

There were 30 cases of pneumonia at CHCF tested for Legionnaires’ disease with 27 of those being negative; one test result is pending. No cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported at NCYCC.