One person has died and another is sick, following two cases of legionnaires' disease at an Albany assisted living facility. The county says the exact cause of death has not been confirmed.
Health officials say the disease is spread by inhaling small water droplets that carry the bacteria, not person to person.
"Everyone is trying to resolve this as quickly and as safely possible," said Judy Krakower, who visited her friend living at Promenade on Friday.
Krakower says the facility sent emails earlier in the week, notifying loved ones about the cases. Promenade taking proactive steps in the matter made Krakower pleased.
"They are doing everything they can to rectify what's going on, what more can you ask for," Krakower said. "Things happen everyday, everywhere you go."
According to Promenade, new shower filters have been installed. Bottled waters are also being provided for residents. This as the Albany County and State Health Departments launch an investigation, looking for the source of the bacteria.
"They are responsible for these people so they are not going to do this to them on purpose," said Tonya Phillips, who dropped her mother at Promenade on Friday to visit her father.
Health officials say the investigation involves examining water samples from the facility. Preliminary tests have come back positive.
"It can be in any water source. It can be in the soil in the ground," said Robert Brewer, the associate director of the emergency department at St. Peter's hospital.
He says legionnaires' disease is a pneumonia caused by legionella. For most people, it can be treated with antibiotics.
"Certainly elderly, or people with other medical problems are going to be more likely to be ill," Brewer said.
According to the state department of health, legionaries' disease was found in 19 people from 2010 to 2012 who stayed at what was then a Best Western hotel.
They say the water tank was changed in 2012, when the building was turned into an assisted living facility. State health officials say a new plumbing system was installed.
"We want to assure you that we are taking this matter very seriously and are communicating openly with our residents and their families," said Paul Belitsis, chief operating officer of Promenade Senior Living. "The Promenade is committed to our residents’ safety, and will continue to provide updates as we address this matter."