Legionnaires' Disease Now Blamed For 5 Deaths At Reynoldsburg Retirement Home; Source Of Infection Located

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Another death in the Legionnaires' disease outbreak at a Reynoldsburg retirement community brings the total to five.

The Franklin County Health Department says the number of confirmed legionella cases still stands at 35. Two of those 35 are members of a chair volleyball team from the Frances Steube Community Center in Canal Winchester.  

Officials say 31 people have been hospitalized overall. The majority have been treated and returned home.   

The health department says test from the Centers for Disease Control reveal legionella was found in both the portable water system, and the cooling tower, at Wesley Ridge.

Now, the work begins for long-term prevention at the retirement community while its many victims continue to recover.

The Frances Steube Community Center is a place Judy Boner loves to visit a couple of times a week.

"We play volleyball, the chair volley. It's a lot of fun, it really is - it's good exercise," said Judy Boner.

Boner says this year they started playing a team at the Wesley Ridge Retirement Community.

She says July 10 was just their third game.

Like the other times, Boner says, there was a table set up for them with refreshments before that game.

"They have ice tea, coffee and water and we always take a little break with them and we go in and have a little snack before we continue our other game," she explained.

One week later, Judy says she was so exhausted she could hardly move.

"By the next day though,” said Boner. “I was freezing, and I could not get warm. I had the shakes, and I could not sit up"

Boner went to the hospital and says after a series of test the doctor told her she had a confirmed case of legionella.

She says she was in the hospital for six days and is home now and continuing to recover.

She also says she is counting her blessings after learning five deaths have been connected to the Legionnaire's outbreak.

"I just feel so sorry for everybody, everybody concerned. You know, involved in it. I really feel bad."

The Health Department says the cooling tower at Wesley Ridge remains closed until a long-term prevention plan is in place.

Wesley Ridge says it will work with its contractor to put a long-term testing plan in place based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Ohio Department Health to assure legionella does not return.

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