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Man Sickened for Months by Confirmed Case of Legionnaires' Disease Found Inside Newark Senior Building

By rlsmetro on
Newark

Department of Health officials in Newark have confirmed that a 61-year-old man hospitalized since spring 2022 contracted and has been sickened by Legionnaires disease. 

RLS Media learned that on April 30th, the resident was taken via ambulance to the hospital after experiencing severe pneumonia-like symptoms while living at the Seth Boyden Elderly Towers in the city's South Ward. 

Officials said he remains at a hospital in the city on ‘stable’ condition. 

The 15-story high rise located at 120 Dayton Street was constructed in 1968 and is under the management of The Newark Housing Authority. 

Senior residents who spoke shared video of Thursday’s contentious meeting and images of some disrepair inside the building with RLS Media and said they were not surprised by health officials' Legionnaires disease findings. 

Obtained by RLS Media, some residents received a faded letter from Newark Housing Authority that explained the following on Thursday: 

“We are writing to notify you that Seth Boyden Senior Residential Building AMP 2022-0020, located at 120 Dayton Street, has been notified by the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness (NDHCW) that a tenant of our building has been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia (lung infection) caused by bacteria called Legionella”.

After receiving this notification, officials said Seth Boyden, Senior Residential, managers proactively tested the water in this individual's apartment and found Legionella bacteria.

In consultation with city and state health officials, the water throughout the building to determine how widespread the problem is.

In a heated discussion with about two dozen residents, Newark Housing Authority Director of Operations Mr. Vicent Rouse showed up at the building Thursday and explained to residents the results of testing the water supply inside the building.  

“People can get Legionnaires' disease by breathing in aerosolized water (small droplets of water in the air) containing Legionella bacteria. Aerosolized water can come from showers, faucets, hot tubs, humidifiers, and decorative fountains”, Rouse told the audience of mostly senior citizens. 

Rouse said the risk of getting sick from a building's water is shallow, especially for healthy people. “The disease does not spread from person to person.” 

“This is even more important if you are 50 or older (especially if you smoke cigarettes), have chronic lung disease, have a weakened immune system, or take medicines that weaken your immune system.  

While Legionnaires' disease is severe, it can be treated with antibiotics.

In the letter submitted to residents, Newark Housing Authorities advised residents to consider taking a bath instead of a shower since a shower can produce tiny droplets of water in the air. Try to minimize your time in the bathroom while the tubs are fining v standing outside the bathroom.

Angry senior residents complained of other issues in the building, including one elevator that has been out of order for weeks and the other with no ventilation or lights inside. 

Housing

“We have to take a pitch-black dark elevator to the upper floors of the building,” a senior resident told RLS Media. 

A rodent and insect investigation, trash and garbage buildup, poor security, dirty hallways and a rude/disrespectful office manager are some other issues residents complained about.

NOTE: Newark Housing Authority Director of Operations Mr. Vicent Rouse is the Pastor of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Newark NJ.