Opera House Hotel Slams NYC Department of Health For Lack of Cooperation During City’s Largest Legionnaires’ Outbreak


The Opera House Hotel in Melrose, The South Bronx, one of the sites identified as having had a Legionella contaminated cooling tower in New York City’s largest outbreak of Legionnaires’ in city history, issued a statement today which slams New York City Department of Health due to officials who, “…have refused to provide us with any information.”

The Opera House Hotel also claims that NYC DOH has yet to tell the hotel that their water cooler tested positive.

In many stories in the media, The Opera House Hotel has been cited as one of the epicenters of this outbreak but the hotel has broken its silence issued harsh words to government officials.

The words released by The Opera House Hotel are that of the community when it comes to city and state officials, specifically those at the respective Department of Health offices not providing sufficient information on the ongoing health crisis in The South Bronx.

The following is the statement released from The Opera House Hotel:

Bronx, NY…The Opera House Hotel today issued the following statement by Glenn Isaacs, Vice President of The Empire Hotel Group.

“Since we first learned about the potential that our clients may have contracted Legionnaires’ disease at our hotel, we have cooperated fully with public health officials and taken proactive steps to cure any problems. Rather than working with us, New York City Department of Health officials have refused to provide us with any information. When we have heard from city officials, they have been low level people who called to tell us they don’t have access to information. It has been a frustrating experience to say the least.

But the anonymous statements attributed to City health officials in today’s New York Times takes this reckless behavior to a new level. It’s outrageous that these officials would offer little more than speculation to the Times, while admitting in the same article that the information could be wrong. We are deeply concerned that there has been a rush to judgement as part of some game of one-upmanship between City and State officials. Why else would the city rush out with anonymous statements to the Times? Was the City trying to take credit for “solving” the mystery of how this all started? NYC DOH owes us answers, in person, or by phone, before leaking half-baked information to the media regardless if speculation proves accurate or not.

“While we were told three people who stayed with us contracted the disease, we still don’t know from DOH that our water cooler tested positive. Given that approximately 25 percent of our customers come from The Bronx, it’s entirely possible those people who stayed with us contracted the disease elsewhere.

“Our water cooler is two years old, and equipped with the latest technology. It has been routinely cleaned and maintained annually, and has been cleaned by an outside firm again since we learned of this situation. We did not wait for test results; we acted quickly. Still, we expect DOH to share the results with us today and provide some basic answers about the people who stayed with us, while still protecting their privacy.

“We trust we won’t have to get these answers from the media, and that the city will refrain from anonymous speculation that damages not only our reputation and the DOH’s, but the great people who live, work, and visit in the South Bronx.”


This statement from The Opera House is in line with many statements from locals who are feeling that not enough information is being provided about this outbreak to the community.

Our government officials are too busy trying to out do each other when they should be working to protect our lives.


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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.