Thursday, August 2, 2012
Library Notified Health Department In Mid-July About Bedbugs
The suspicion of bedbugs in the library goes back to the beginning of the month, and had been reported to the Health Department some time ago. However, it was not until Tuesday (July 31st) that action was taken. Within hours of a report of bedbugs to the Mayor's Office, Mayor Drew decided to close the Library.
The first indication of trouble was around July 1st, when a library user complained of being bitten by an insect in the computer area. A week later, the same person complained of another bite, and claimed that it was a bed bug. The library contacted Brodeur's Pest Management to discuss this, and was told that it was extremely unlikely to be bedbugs because of the time of day (bedbugs are active at night) and the location of the bite. With advice from Brodeur's the library set several traps for fleas, but none were caught.
The existence of bedbugs was confirmed a few days later when a patron of the library returned a DVD and called attention to the bedbugs in the case. Danny Richmond, Head of Facilities and Security, then asked the circulation department to carefully inspect all material going out and coming into the library. He also contacted Lou Carta, the community health educator in the City's Health Department, and advised him of the situation.
Last Friday, 2-3 weeks after the first confirmation of bedbugs, and after another complaint in the Computer Center, Richmond discovered that one of the chairs was infested with bedbugs. He removed all chairs of that style and stored them outside. Brodeur's treated the Computer Center area on Monday night, after the library closed. Bedbugs are killed by temperatures over 113 degrees, so a typical treatment is to wrap potentially infected objects and apply dry steam.
After someone called the Mayor's Office, the Health Department inspected the library and told them to contact UConn Extension for expertise.
Later that afternoon, Mayor Drew called a meeting with the head of the library, Arthur Meyers and a Health Inspector. The mayor made the decision to close the library. Meyers said the City has moved very quickly since the meeting with the Mayor, hiring a company to treat the library tonight and Thursday morning.
Mayor Drew told The Eye that his first priority was eliminating bedbugs from the library. He said he was aware that the Health Department had been notified about the bedbugs earlier, and expressed concern that this information was not acted upon. He said that he was gathering information about the timeline, and would be addressing this apparent breakdown in communication after the library was re-opened.
On Wednesday evening, Meyers said that the company hired by the city was at work in the Library, "...a sniffer dog is going through the Library and making many hits". He said the company will treat all items with bed bugs with heat.
Meyers said that the Library would be announcing tomorrow whether it would reopen on Friday or next week.