County Response Timeline

Overview

Since August, the county has been working with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to determine the appropriate steps needed to mitigate the issue with the cooling towers from arising again. The following are the schools with cooling towers that tested positive for legionella between the time frame of July 14 and August 20:

  • Greenfield Elementary
  • Midlothian Middle
  • Falling Creek Middle
  • L.C. Bird High
  • Hopkins Elementary
  • Alberta Smith Elementary
  • Matoaca High

All cooling towers at schools were cleaned and treated with chemicals when legionella was found. As part of the Health Department's investigation, other county facilities were visited, and officials determined no further action was needed at those facilities.


September 25, 2019

Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors’ Meeting 

County launches legionella information webpage.

September 24, 2019

The county distributes a news release announcing the launch of an informational webpage that shares information about the county government’s response to legionella.

September 20, 2019

CCPS distributes Friday Family Update with information about legionella.

September 19, 2019

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) released the following statements to media in response to confusion on the number of Legionnaires’ cases and who has contracted the disease:

  • VDH is investigating an unusual cluster of cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the Chesterfield Health District: Twelve cases since May 2019. Thus far in this investigation, Chesterfield Health District has no reports of students, staff or parents in any CCPS school having contracted Legionnaires’ disease within Chesterfield County. Thus far in this investigation, there is no link between any CCPS school and those who have contracted Legionnaire’s disease.
  • Regarding reports of illness prior to May 2019, there was - and is - no information necessary to share to protect public health, beyond the known precautions for Legionnaires’ disease. Thus, no further information is available.
  • VDH's top two priorities – in order – are protecting public health and protecting patient privacy. VDH is further bound by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which prohibits disclosure of potentially identifying patient information, unless such disclosure is necessary to protect public health. Patient information – including any potentially identifying info, including locations such as place of employment - is only disclosed when necessary to protect public health.

September 17, 2019

The Department of Risk Management provides a summary of the testing and cleaning of cooling towers.

  • 45 towers at 31 schools were tested for the presence of legionella bacteria following disinfection and cleaning. Out of 45 cooling towers, three tested positive (7%). This included one tower each at Matoaca High School, L.C. Bird High School and Alberta Smith Elementary School.
  • Since that testing occurred and after additional cleaning at all three cooling towers, follow-up testing has been performed. The results for all three schools are negative.
  • Two cooling towers at Cosby High School have not been tested. The Cosby High School cooling towers are not operating and are down for repairs.
  • The CCPS Facilities division is planning to go through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) startup protocol for these cooling towers when they become operational again. Subsequent testing will follow protocol.

September 12, 2019

VDH posts chart of Testing Sites and Legionella Environmental Testing Results, Chesterfield County

August 28, 2019

An update on the health department and the status of the legionella investigation is given by Dr. Alexander Samuel, Chesterfield Health District Director, Angela Myrick-West, MPH, CIC Central Region Epidemiologist, and David Johnson, Director of Department of Risk Management. 

August 13 – August 20, 2019

The Department of Risk Management hired a consultant and was able to test six cooling towers at five additional schools prior to any disinfection or cleaning by contractors. One out of six cooling towers tested positive for the legionella bacteria (17%). The five schools tested before the cleaning of cooling towers occurred and their results are as follows:

  • Bettie Weaver Elementary School – tested negative for legionella
  • Crenshaw Elementary School – tested negative for legionella
  • L.C. Bird High School - tested positive for legionella
  • Robious Elementary School – tested negative for legionella
  • Robious Middle School - tested negative for legionella

August 12 – 14, 2019

CCPS requested to purchase services to clean cooling towers and purchase orders were issued by the Department of Procurement. The three companies included Colonial Webb Contractors Company, Daikin Applied, and Southern Air, Inc.

July 25 - August 24, 2019

The county worked with CCPS to hire three contractors to clean the cooling towers. The three contractors hired included: Southern Air, Daikin, Colonial Webb.

August 9, 2019 

CCPS sends a notice to parents stating their efforts to accelerate the plan to clean cooling towers.

August 8, 2019 

A news release is updating the public on their investigation is distributed by the Virginia Department of Health.

August 2, 2019 

In a news release, the county states it is continuing to monitor the work of the Virginia Department of Health and Chesterfield County Public Schools to investigate the source of illness regarding 10 confirmed cases of Legionnaires disease, a type of pneumonia, in northeastern Chesterfield.

July 25, 2019

VDH Sends News Release

The Virginia Department of Health sends a news release that stated the Chesterfield Health District (CHD) is investigating an increase in cases of Legionnaires’ disease associated with the northeast quadrant of Chesterfield County. Since May 1, there have been 10 confirmed cases among older adults and persons with other medical conditions. The CHD is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify possible sources of exposure to Legionella. If any sources are identified, CHD will recommend strategies to stop the spread of Legionella. Investigations into increased cases of Legionnaires’ disease are complex. It is often not possible to determine the origin of the bacteria that infected people. The investigation is currently aimed at ruling out possible sources. 

CCPS Notification to Parents of Children in Summer School

A notification to parents was sent to parents of children in summer school at Greenfield Elementary informing them that the school was closed. 

Department of Parks and Recreation Contacts Parents of Children in Summer Camp

The Department of Parks and Recreation sent a letter to the families of students attending summer school at Greenfield Elementary changing the location of the camp to Bettie Weaver Elementary School starting on Monday, July 29. The notification explained the reason for relocating summer camp and included the correspondence CCPS sent parents of children attending summer school.

July 24 – July 31, 2019

Nine cooling towers at five schools were originally tested for presence of legionella by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chesterfield Health District (CHD), prior to any disinfection and cleaning. Six out of the nine were positive for legionella bacteria (67%). The five schools that were tested and their results are below:

  • Falling Creek Middle School – tested positive for legionella
  • Greenfield Elementary School – tested positive for legionella
  • Hopkins Road Elementary School – tested positive for legionella
  • Midlothian Middle School – tested positive for legionella
  • Meadowbrook High School - tested negative for legionella

CCPS Cooling Towers - CDC Test Results 
(July 24 - July 31)
CCPS Cooling Towers - CDC Test Results 07-24 to 31-2019

July 24, 2019

The Chesterfield County Government and Chesterfield County Public Schools were notified by the Chesterfield County Health District that there was a preliminary report showing Greenfield Elementary School had tested positive for legionella bacteria. That evening summer school and summer camp being held in that school were canceled.

July 19, 2019 

The Virginia Department of Health sent a letter to clinicians informing them that there had been increased reports of respiratory illness across the Commonwealth. The letter asks for health providers to have a heightened awareness of respiratory illnesses in their patients.

Week of July 14, 2019

Chesterfield County government was notified by the Virginia Department of Health and Chesterfield County Health District that there was a concern about an increase in the number of Legionnaires’ cases being reported.