Two more are dead from the Legionnaires' outbreak in the South Bronx, bringing the total up to 12 people, but at the same time, the mayor insists the disease is under control and is looking to prevent similar outbreaks in the future by speeding through legislation in the City Council. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Nothing but confidence is coming from City Hall.
Flanked by 10 city officials, Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated for nearly two hours on Monday that his administration has the Legionnaires' outbreak in the south Bronx under control.
"It continues to taper off," de Blasio said. "We have no evidence over the last few days of any new cases of Legionnaires'."
That confidence comes as the death toll ticks up.
At the same time, city officials point to charts showing the number of cases going down. There have been no new cases for a week.
"As we've been reporting over the last several days, we have encouraging news that points to the end of this outbreak," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.
So for now, there has been a turn towards prevention. The mayor and the Council are fast-tracking legislation to require that building owners register their cooling towers. They will have to register within 60 days of the law passing. Cooling towers will also have to be inspected quarterly.
Cooling towers are large units on the top of primarily commercial buildings. It's these units that are the source of the Legionnaires' outbreak.
The mayor's proposal comes a day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would create statewide regulations to prevent future outbreaks, dismissing the idea that individual cities could come up with their own guidelines.
A draft of the legislation from City Hall was not even completed by Monday's press conference.
"We're going to pass the laws and rules we need to protect our people, and we're going to do it right now," de Blasio said.
"There will be a draft available for the hearing and there will be questions that will be answered by the relevant parties, whether it's the Department of Buildings or Department of Health officials," said City Council Speker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Even though city officials said they're still working out the details of this proposal, the City Council could vote on this proposal as soon as Thursday.
"I don't hesitate to do things quickly when they need to be done quickly," de Blasio said.