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Shah Apologizes for Quincy E-mail, Does Not Plan to Resign

Illinois Department of Public Health

At least two Illinois lawmakers have called for the director of the state’s public health department to step down. This following the deaths of 13 residents from Legionnaire’s disease at a veterans’ home in Quincy since 2015. But Dr. Nirav Shah says he thinks he still has the public’s trust - and intends to continue in his role.

Dr. Shah says his agency’s role during an outbreak is to figure out who’s at risk, identify the source, and make recommendations to facilities on how to keep people safe.

Speaking on “The 21st” show, Shah said that within 27 minutes of learning of the second Legionnaire’s death at the Quincy veterans home in 2015 --

“...we were on the phone with the facility to let them know of what was going on and giving them recommendations that they could put into place.”

Shah said at that point, it was the responsibility of the facility - not his agency - to notify staff and families.

At a public hearing on Monday, lawmakers discussed a proposal that would require families be notified within 24 hours of an outbreak in a veterans home. There’s no such requirement in the current statute. I’m Christine Herman.