Promenade ordered to stop taking new residents after Legionnaires’ confirmed 

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff 

Promenade at University Place at 1228 Western Ave. opened last December in a former Best Western hotel that had been linked to a number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease in 2012. ​

GUILDERLAND — The New York State Department of Health announced today that environmental samples collected from Promenade at University Place, an assisted-living facility at 1228 Western Ave., confirm the continued presence of Legionella bacteria there.

The department has issued an order to Promenade, prohibiting the admission of any new residents until three successive monthly rounds of testing show satisfactory results, which would mean Legionella bacteria in less than 30 percent of sampled outlets, spokesman Gary Holmes told The Enterprise on Friday.

The building, which used to house a Best Western Hotel, has a history of Legionnaires’ and was linked to a number of cases of the disease in 2012. 

In September, a resident of Promenade had become ill, and spokesman Paul Fahey of Overit, a public relations firm representing Promenade, said at the time that the facility was awaiting results of testing and that the resident might have contracted the disease anywhere, including while shopping or on vacation.

Fahey emphasized at the time that Promenade has been following department-of-health guidelines on water quality and filtration systems.

State health officials say that Promenade has elected to fight this order in an administrative law hearing on Monday at 10 a.m. 

Paul Belitsis, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Promenade Senior Living, said on Friday afternoon that he could not comment at this time. 

This is the second outbreak of Legionnaires’ since the assisted-living facility opened. In February, there were two cases and one resident died. 

In addition, to protect current residents, Promenade must install and maintain filters for all faucets and provide notice describing the risk of Legionella and the remediation efforts being taken to protect all residents, staff, and visitors. 

Holmes said that the department continues to work closely with the Albany County Department of Health and will continue to “monitor the situation and protect the public and residents.” 

Legionnaires’ disease is spread by inhaling small droplets of water in the form of steam or vapor that contain the Legionella bacteria, said the Albany County Department of Health in a release earlier this year. 

Older people and those with compromised immune systems or a history of respiratory problems are particularly at risk.

Exposure to Legionella can cause “severe disease including pneumonia, particularly in individuals who are elderly, have a weakened immune system or previous history of respiratory problems,” the earlier Albany County release said. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, drinking water is the most important source of Legionella, and humans can either inhale contaminated aerosols or aspirate small amounts of contaminated drinking water. 

When Promenade converted the hotel into senior residences, the company undertook an “extensive renovation that replaced every single fixture in the building, faucets as well as the hot-water heater,”  Belitsis told The Enterprise earlier. 

And after the February outbreak, Promenade took steps to minimize risk to other residents that included, Belitsis said at the time, installing new shower filters and providing all residents with bottled water for drinking and for oral hygiene.

After the resident became ill in September, Erin Silk of the state’s health department told The Enterprise that Promenade had installed point-of-use filters and was in communication with residents.

Promenade Senior Living has five facilities across New York State.

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