According to an email obtained by Welcome2TheBronx, Hostos Community College, which has an enrollment of over 7,000 students, has tested positive for Legionella, the bacteria which causes Legionnaires’ disease, however it is 10x below the threshold for recommended cleansing action by OSHA guidelines. Still, Hostos Community College went ahead and made sure that all cooling towers were treated and cleaned regardless of the results.
The building sits catty-corner to the Bronx General Post Office which tested also tested positive for Legionella and remained closed for several days while its cooling towers were treated and cleaned and is one of 5 buildings in a 1/2 mile radius from each other as you can see by zooming in on the map below.
The college’s administration ordered the tests on August 3rd, well ahead of the city-wide mandate to test all cooling towers for the deadly yet treatable bacteria and on August 11th and 15th, the cooling towers were treated and disinfected. It wasn’t until yesterday, August 17th that the results were delivered to Hostos.
Legionella was detected in the Allied Health Building aka Building ‘A’ located at 475 Grand Concourse on the West side of the Concourse and was detected at 10 colony forming units per milliliter.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines, cleansing and treatment is recommended when Legionella is found at 100 CFU/mL and The Association of Water Technologies’ guidelines recommend that biocide is added when the 10 CFU/mL that was detected at Hostos but does not recommend cleansing.
As of August 15th, there have been 13 deaths associated with New York City’s largest outbreak in its history of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx (including the teacher who passed away in April and worked at PS 325 within the impact zone which NYC Department of Health is not counting) and a total of 126 cases with 96 patients discharged. 18 patients remain hospitalized . No new cases have been reported with symptoms since August 3rd.