Harvey Hall Temporarily Closes Doors After Legionnaires Outbreak
After one confirmed death, and seven more confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease, The City of Tyler is temporarily closing down Harvey Hall, and taking other safety precautions after the recent Legionnaires outbreak.
According to the press release: At a meeting initiated by the City of Tyler with the Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) officials on Wednesday, Nov. 20, the City was advised by NET Health that the source of the contamination for the recent Legionnaires outbreak was still under investigation and that no testing location could be ruled out, including those found within Harvey Hall. Furthermore, the City was informed at this meeting that contamination of the building’s plumbing from a 3rd party vendor tying into and utilizing the plumbing system was a possibility that could not be ruled out.
Though the source point of the contamination has yet to be identified, the City is taking all additional precautions as identified by NET Health at this meeting. The City will bring in a 3rd party contractor to provide a precautionary decontamination of the plumbing system as a remedial action.
As an added precaution, the City is suspending event activity and staff operation at Harvey Hall until such actions can take place.
“While health officials have not requested a closure, The City believes it is in the best interest of community safety at this time,” said City Manager Ed Broussard. “Because of continued unknowns communicated to us at today’s meeting, we believe it is in the best interest of our residents and staff to take these precautionary steps.”
Initial water testing from selective water fixtures was conducted by NET Health on Oct. 25 and revealed appropriate chlorine levels were present within water samples collected in Harvey Hall. Chlorine is one of several items used to ensure public water is safe, and is the only element that is tested within the initial sampling process. NET Health advised the City on Oct. 25 that there was no evidence of any public health risk that would require cancelling events at Harvey Hall.
Neither the City nor NET Health have received other reports of illness related to Legionnaire’s Disease linked to Harvey Hall or the time period of the East Texas State Fair. Additionally, no other issues have been reported within other City-operated facilities. However, the City will opt to have heavily utilized public facilities go use the same remedial process recommended by health officials over the next several months to reduce the likelihood that this could ever occur. Additionally, the City will be updating its venue policies to prohibit vendors from bringing in misting apparatuses.
“While the City understands the inconvenience that stems from moving events from Harvey Hall, we are committed to putting the health and safety of our residents and staff first,” said Broussard.