Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, ever the political thorn in each others' sides, have been issuing conflicting reports on the Legionnaires' disease outbreak that has killed 12 people and sickened hundreds in the Bronx.
De Blasio's office, which says the outbreak is beginning to taper off and has been contained, identified 12 cooling towers that came back positive for Legionella bacteria, out of a total 22 towers tested. But the Governor's office had already identified a total of 15 towers and reported them to the press.
NY State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker later claimed that he called NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett to let her know about the state's findings, but got her voicemail because she was already in the press conference. 3 out of 4 doctors agree that calling someone while they're holding a press conference is one of the best ways to advance your boss's grudge against de Blasio.
Anyway, Zucker and Bassett finally stopped playing phone tag and released this information, which breaks down the 18 buildings that were found with legionella—11 are in the so-called "impact zone" and seven are outside the impact zone:
Contaminated buildings in the impact zone:
· Concourse Plaza, 198 E. 161st. St.
· Opera House Hotel, 436 E. 149 St.
· Lincoln Hospital, 234 E. 149th St.
· Streamline Plastics, 2950 Park Ave.
· Daughters of Jacob Nursing Home, 1160 Teller Ave.
· Post Office, 558 Grand Concourse
· Verizon, 117 E. 167th St.
· Bronx Housing Courts, 1118 Grand Concourse
· NYC Department of Education, 455 Southern Boulevard. Also called Samuel Gompers High School.
· DHS PATH Intake Center, 151 East 151st Street.
· Bronx Hall of Justice, 245 E 161ST Street
Contaminated buildings outside the impact zone:
· Verizon, 1106 Hoe Ave.
· Police Dept., 1086 Simpson St.
· 1201 Lafayette Ave.
· 230 East 123rd St.
· Plus three other sites that will be identified by NY State..
Cuomo has dispatched state workers and firefighters to inspect water cooling towers in the South Bronx. His crew tested 50 towers this weekend, after Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. reportedly begged Albany to amplify what he felt was an insufficient response from City Hall. And apparently, when state health commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker tried to contact city health commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett to inform her of the state's findings over the weekend, he was unable to reach her and left a voicemail—the city was then unaware of the state's numbers, hence the differing reports.
Meanwhile, 12 have died from the outbreak thus far. Officials say the majority were either elderly or middle-aged, and/or suffered from underlying medical issues. Of the buildings that identified as testing positive for the bacteria, the Opera House Hotel on East 149th Street is looking like a likely source for the outbreak.
The Times reports that at least three people who had direct contact with the hotel were diagnosed with Legionnaires', and three people who live in an apartment building behind the hotel got sick as well. Officials say no guests that had stayed at the hotel since July 1st came down with Legionnaires'.