CHICAGO (CBS) — A health scare for a River North hotel. Public health officials are trying to determine if the Embassy Suites on State Street is where two people contracted Legionnaires’ disease during a summer stay.
City officials and the hotel said they are taking steps to try to pinpoint the source of the bacteria, if it’s at the hotel at all.
Two people who were guests at the hotel recently were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.
Guests at the Embassy Suites noticed some odd things on Friday, but were surprised to learn the hotel was being inspected and tested for Legionella bacteria.
“They didn’t send out a letter, or a memo, or anything like that,” hotel guest Nick Ralston said.
Chicago Public Health Department Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita said Embassy Suites was identified as the possible source of the disease, after officials realized two people who stayed at the hotel in August came down with the disease. Both live out of state. One was diagnosed in mid-August; the other in early September.
Morita said it’s unclear where they contracted Legionnaires’ disease.
“That’s the point,” she said. “For two individuals, we have this common exposure at this hotel, and it’s our job to now work with this hotel to identify other people who stayed in the hotels.”
Since Legionnaires’ disease is spread through water particles in the air, the hotel confirmed it has drained its fountain, hot tub, and swimming pool because of the possible bacteria. A sign at the pool simply states “out of order.”
Ralston said it must have been shut down Friday afternoon, because the pool and hot tub were full in the morning.
“It was about noon or one, and my wife went downstairs and said, ‘The pool’s drained. I wonder why it’s drained,’ and then as soon as that happened, we saw the news, and realized what was going on,” he said.
Keyon Jackson said he’s thinking about leaving the hotel.
“Me and my wife, we’re down here trying to celebrate. We can’t even go swimming, or nothing, so I’m definitely thinking about leaving,” he said.
Morita said there’s no health concerns for the hotel now, but prior guests “we’d be concerned about most of the people who stayed in the hotel previously.”
The health commissioner did not say when they might definitively determine if the bacteria was found at the hotel.