legionnairescoolingMembers of the Senate’s Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus on Thursday called for the testing of water systems by hospitals every three months for the Legionella bacteria.

In a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the lawmakers are calling for the tests to be included in the regulations being drafted by state and city officials.

“In my district in 2005 we saw the devastating affects of a Legionnaires’ outbreak at a hospital and we are seeing it again now,” Sen. Adriano Espaillat, the caucus chairman. “Due to the extreme risk posed to the sick by Legionella bacteria, hospitals should be required to check their water systems frequently so we can prevent future outbreaks.”

More than 100 people have fallen sick and 12 died from one of the deadliest outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in New York City history.

Both Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week put aside their differences in the approach to combating the outbreak and announced they would put together a package of regulations to prevent and contain future outbreaks.

The regulations are expected to be voted on by the city Council, but state lawmakers will not have to return to Albany to approve them. Cuomo plans to enact the regulations through his emergency powers.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie this week told reporters in Buffalo the Legislature will likely consider their own measures aimed at combating Legionnaires’ disease.

One Bronx lawmaker has already introduced legislation that would provide up to $50 million for testing of cooling systems that have been blamed for the current outbreak.

FINAL Legionnaires Letter.pdf by Nick Reisman