After Legionnaires' case, Charlestown gets clean bill of health

After Legionnaires' case, Charlestown gets clean bill of health

In the months after a resident at the Charlestown retirement community in Catonsville was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease and low to "inconclusive" levels of the disease-causing bacteria were found in water at two of its buildings, routine testing has shown no indication of the bacteria's return.

Since water restrictions were lifted Dec. 20, testing for the bacteria that can cause the potentially deadly respiratory illness has taken place every two weeks at Caton Woods — the building where the resident lives — and will continue through April, according to Dan Dunne, a spokesman for Erickson Living, the company that manages Charlestown.

From April to June, testing will take place once a month, Dunne said. After that, as long as the bacteria is not detected, no additional reporting will be needed and the retirement community will resume with its routine quarterly testing.

Residents no longer live in the second building that had water restrictions in place — Renaissance Gardens Terrace — as part of a long-term plan for the community's assisted living population. Caton Woods, which has a capacity of 116, opened late last year.

"The remediation efforts that took place were successful and there has not been any recurrence," he said.

Since the incident, additional procedures and precautions have been put in place at the community, which has about 2,100 residents on its 110-acre campus, Dunne said. An $8,000 chemical-free disinfection system designed to handle high volumes of water, in Caton Woods.

Protocols are now in place to have water running through its water lines more frequently, minimizing the possibility of the bacteria's return, as the bacteria has a higher potential to develop in stagnant water, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"From the very start when this original case occurred back in December, the community's focus has been to ensure the welfare of those who live and work on the campus," Dunne said. "I think these extensive measures reflect their commitment."

Monique Lyle, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore County health department, said there have been no concerns since the water restrictions were lifted.

Water restrictions were in place at two buildings in the retirement community for about two weeks.

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