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City And State Health Inspectors Continue To Investigate Legionnaires' Outbreak

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York State Gov. Cuomo announced Sunday that the state's multi-agency deployment is continuing to test for Legionella bacteria in the Bronx.

The State Mobile Command Center is open at Hostos Community College to lead the effort, and expanded outreach and testing efforts are taking place throughout the borough.

Saturday's effort resulted in over 125 buildings being canvassed. On Sunday, state officials will focus on the impacted area and will canvass in Morrisania, Hunts Point, Mount Eden, Mott Haven and Highbridge, 1010 WINS' Roger Stern reported.

"The city gave us another 60 sites that they want tested, so we're working on that today," Cuomo said.

The State's Emergency Operations Centers in both New York City and Albany are also open and assisting with coordination efforts.

"I want New Yorkers to know that we are actively working to protect the public health," Governor Cuomo said. "We are continuing our all-hands-on-deck approach, and people should rest assured that every precaution is being taken to keep these communities safe."

At Saturday's press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the Legionnaires' disease has been contained.

City and State Health Inspectors Continue To Investigate Legionnaires' Outbreak

De Blasio revealed the five sites where the bacteria has been found including a Verizon facility, the Bronx Housing Court, the Bronx Hall of Justice, a soon-to-be decommissioned post office and Samuel Gompers High School.

So far, the outbreak has sickened 109 people and 10 people have died in the South Bronx, CBS2's Steve Langford reported. The total Sunday was up from 108 on Saturday.

He vows that change is on the way in the aftermath of the deadly outbreak.

Teams led by the State Department of Health are canvassing impacted areas in the Bronx, providing information on Legionnaires' Disease to members of the public as well as surveying additional buildings for cooling towers. This effort is continuing to be done in close coordination with the work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

City and State Health Inspectors Continue To Investigate Legionnaires' Outbreak

Jim Malatras, Director of State Operations said, "By deploying more trained health officials, we are sending the message that the state is here to help the Bronx community. We will continue our efforts to address this outbreak, contain this disease and help keep New Yorkers safe."

Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of the State Department of Health, said "We are extending our deployment of health professionals to continue to assist in testing additional cooling tower systems in the Bronx. We are committed to keeping New Yorkers safe and we will continue our efforts to prevent the increased number cases of this disease."

On Thursday, the Governor announced that the state is offering free Legionella testing to building owners, operators, managers and landlords of buildings with cooling towers or evaporative condenser units that can be sources of the bacteria.

This testing is being offered free of charge, and two hotlines have been set up to further support the collection of testing samples. Those numbers are 888-769-7243 and 518-485-1159, and are staffed by trained operators Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This testing support also helps building owners and operators comply with the recent order from New York City that towers with the potential to become sources of Legionella bacteria be tested before mid-August.

Building owners, operators, managers, and landlords who wish to have DOH test for Legionella can also send the name and address to which the kit should be mailed, and a working phone number to: DOH will send an appropriate sampling kit with simple instructions for sample collection.

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