Rauner vows not to close Quincy veterans home after Legionnaires’ outbreak

QUINCY, Ill. -- Gov. Bruce Rauner emerged from a six-day stay at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, where several residents died of Legionnaires' disease.

The Legionnaires' outbreak has contributed to the deaths of 13 residents since 2015 and sickened dozens more.

A report of a lawsuit by 11 families against the state last month increased pressure on Rauner for a response.

At a news conference Wednesday, Rauner defended his administration's actions during the initial outbreak, and touted new protocols in place.

"I came here because I wanted to make a judgement for myself. I didn't want to just rely on other people. I didn't want to hear testimony or various opinions," he said. "I wanted to come for myself to see first hand the nature, the fundamental service at this facility. And let me be crystal clear, I do NOT support closing this facility."

The governor also believes the home needs to see investments. State lawmakers held a hearing on the Legionnaires' issue Tuesday.

Legionnaires' is caused by bacteria that grow in water systems and which can sicken people who inhale infected water vapor.