Commissioners Order and Health Alerts Re Legionnaires in the Bronx

Karen Morris and Carla Erhartic in Clinical & Quality

As many of you are aware, on July 29, 2015, DOHMH released Health Alert #21: Increase in Legionnaires’ Disease in The Bronx and on August 2, 2015 DOHMH released Health Alert #24: UPDATE: Clinical Management of Respiratory Illness in the South Bronx. The number of Legionella laboratory reports in South Bronx residents have increased to 100 since July 10. At this time, there have been ten deaths reported in patients with Legionnaires' disease in those neighborhoods.

The NYC Emergency Management Situation Room has been activated as of 1000 hours on 8/5. DOHMH’s Incident Command System (ICS) is also currently activated.

Situational Overview:

  • DOHMH continues conducting Legionella environmental sampling for the cooling towers in the designated area. A Commissioner's Order has been issued today requiring evaluation and treatment of cooling towers throughout the city within 14 days (see attached). Additional info can be obtained by calling 311
  • NYS DOH will provide Free Legionella testing through October:

Interagency Coordination:

  • The Cooling Tower Identification Task Force has been established to identify all buildings with cooling towers in a DOHMH-defined area near the South Bronx
  • The Mayor’s Office and NYCEM have organized canvassing operations for additional outreach to identity cooling towers in the impacted area

Guidance for Health Care Providers:

  • Health care providers have been advised to:
    • Test for Legionella when evaluating those who may have community acquired pneumonia that live in, work in, or visit the South Bronx area
    • Promptly report cases DOHMH. To report a case and for information about Legionella, please call 866-NYC-DOH1 (1-866-692-3641). You may also report via NYCMED at

If you have not already, please take a moment to read the Health Alerts and share it with appropriate members of your team. Please contact NYC Emergency Management Health & Medical team at with any questions or concerns.


Karen Morris, RN, MS
Director, Clinical & Quality Services
518-462-4800 x15


Carla Erhartic
Coordinator of Assisted Living Member Support & Services
518-462-4800, ext. 13