This is an update on Davis Event Center and the mitigation efforts we undertook following the Mountain State Fair and the Legionnaire’s outbreak. We appreciate the public’s patience as we have worked through this uncharted territory.
In consultation with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and an independent industrial hygienist, the Davis Event Center’s hot water system has gone through a disinfecting process using a Thermal Eradication (Superheat-and-Flush) method. The treatments were conducted on Oct. 4 and Oct. 7.
This method, which raises the water temperature to more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit, was applied to all water outlets, faucets and shower heads for a minimum of 30 minutes, in order to reduce any potential Legionella colonization at these sites.
Although preliminary epidemiologic and environmental findings suggest that exposure to Legionella bacteria occurred in the Davis Event Center, particularly near the hot tubs and during the last five days of the fair, these hot water flush treatments were voluntary on our part and were taken to reassure the public about the safety of the facility.
Hot tubs are a well-established source of aerosolized water exposure and have been associated with previous Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks nationally and internationally.
According to public health officials, after the Mountain State Fair there were no other significant sources of aerosolized water at the WNC Ag Center. Despites these assurances, the WNC Ag Center decided to voluntarily take additional mitigation efforts to reassure the public about the safety of the facility.
After conducting this treatment, an independent environmental group collected new water samples at the same sites in the Davis Event Center previously sampled by public health officials. A certified independent lab confirmed Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, that no Legionella bacteria was detected in these follow-up samples.
Additionally, this Superheat-and-Flush method was used on all other buildings on the grounds, again as a precautionary measure.
In light of public health’s latest information, we have decided to conduct an additional environmental assessment of the Davis Event Center under the guidance of an independent industrial hygienist and we are not renting the Davis Event Center at this time. Safety remains our top priority.