Health director waited a year to tell Gov. about Legionnaire's outbreak
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) - The Michigan Public Health Director waited a full year before he told Governor Rick Snyder that there was an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease in Flint.
Nick Lyon, director of the Department of Health and Human Services, was questioned for the first time in Lansing about his involvement and why he waited a year to notify Snyder there was a disease. He answered by saying his department could do better.
Lyon appeared before a legislative panel on Monday and conceded that he waited a year to bring the governor into the loop about the problem.
"I was aware that Genesee county was doing an outbreak in January 15," Lyon said.
Lyon later talked to FOX 2's Tim Skubick and said he mentioned it to Governor Snyder the day before it went public.
At least 91 Legionnaires' cases, including 12 deaths, were detected over a 17-month period. Snyder publicly disclosed the spike in January, saying he had just been informed despite some of his staff knowing earlier.
State Senator and ranking Democrat on the committee Jim Ananich thinks Lyons' department should have issued a Health Order Notification much earlier than winter 2016.
"There should have been a Health Order Notification report sent out to the public in 2014," Ananich went on to say that the department bungled the investigation.
Lyon went on to say that his department should have done much more.
"We could have done better. we all could have done better," Lyon said. However, he stopped short of saying the governor should have been alerted sooner. "I believe that we need to work on that internally within the department in how those things are elevated."
Lyon told lawmakers investigating the emergency that his agency must be more transparent in future disease investigations.
The auditor general is investigating Lyon's department on this and other Flint issues.