DC hospital to go 3rd week without running water

Washington, D.C.-based St. Elizabeths Hospital will go without running water for at least another week since shutting off its water Sept. 26 after discovering the presence of Pseudomonas and Legionella bacteria, according to The Washington Post.

Contractors are flushing the state-funded psychiatric hospital's water system with chlorine, working up to 14 hours a day, Wayne Turnage, deputy mayor of the district's HHS department, told The Washington Post Oct. 8. He said he expects the work to be done Oct. 11, at which point the hospital will test for residual bacteria. The facility may not have running water until Oct. 17-18, according to Mr. Turnage.

The bacterial contamination was caused by "an issue with internal plumbing at St Elizabeths," Pamela Mooring, a spokesperson for D.C. Water, told The Washington Post. Officials are still working to identify how the bacteria entered the hospital's water system.

Patients and staff are currently using bottled water, hand sanitizer and portable showers. Water can't be boiled while the system is flushed, so outside contractors are bringing in food. Nurses are trying to maintain hygiene, Tinuolu Shokunbi, RN, a nurse at St. Elizabeths, told The Washington Post, even though the lack of running water makes it difficult to wash their hands. Convincing patients to walk to a trailer with portable showers isn't easy either, Ms. Shokunbi said.

As of Oct. 8, none of the facility's 273 patients had symptoms of Legionnaires' disease. The hospital continues to accept patients.

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Washington, D.C.-based St. Elizabeths Hospital will go without running water for at least another week since shutting off its water Sept. 26 after discovering the presence of Pseudomonas and Legionella bacteria, according to The Washington Post.

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