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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Update: St. Marys water contamination traced to well

Update Thursday:

"Water testing continues at Mayo Clinic Hospital – Saint Marys Campus.

The cafeterias are back online and have been cleared for use. Water samples were collected and analyzed for the cafeteria first, and water there has been determined to be safe for use. Filters on coffee machines, and other equipment have been changed, and most of these machines are back online. Ice machines across campus continue to be serviced and will be clearly marked once they are ready for use.

Marian Hall has been flushed and is back online. As with other facilities, water sources there are acceptable for hand washing, which should be followed by hand sanitizing. General use of faucets for any use other than hand washing is not advised at this time.

Additional water testing for other areas continues. Flushing has been completed in the Domitilla and Francis buildings.

Water for the Saint Marys Campus is being provided by Rochester Public Utilities after investigation traced the source of contamination to the well at Saint Marys. There have been no reports of illness or symptoms, and the water supply continues to be tested. Initial tests have not found issues with bacterial contamination or heavy metals."

Update Wednesday:

"Preliminary analysis has shown that the sediment in the water on the Saint Marys campus came from filtering material from the well at Saint Marys. There have been no reports of illness or symptoms, and the water supply has been tested and deemed safe. Initial tests have not found issues with bacterial contamination or heavy metals.

Water has been deemed safe for cafeteria use. Filters on coffee, ice machines and other equipment are being changed, and will come back online over time.

Additional testing is being conducted for other areas, and results are expected on Thursday. Other areas will be brought online as they are cleared. Flushing has been completed in the Domitilla and Francis buildings. Marian Hall will be flushed overnight."

Original report:

Two days after reports began coming in of dark-colored water appearing in toilets and sinks at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, Mayo Clinic continues to advise patients, visitors and staff to refrain from ingesting the water.

Mayo said Wednesday it has distributed 89,280 bottles of water throughout the campus. An additional 2,880 gallons of bottled cooking water have been brought in for use in the kitchen.

"We greatly appreciate the patience of our patients and visitors and commend our staff who continue to provide seamless care to our patients and serve hospital operations despite this challenge," a Mayo spokesperson said in a statement.

Initial testing shows that the discoloration was caused by sediment in the water. While it awaits results from further testing, Mayo is advising staff and patients to avoid drinking the water, using ice machines or bathing in the water (patients are being provided with comfort bath bags that include items for bathing). The water, according to Mayo, is suitable for hand washing, but should be followed by hand sanitizers that are being placed in bathrooms across the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Staff and patients were first alerted Monday afternoon that the water on campus may not be safe for consumption or use in clinical care. 

Rochester Public Utilities has confirmed that the issue is confined to the St. Marys campus and that water throughout the city remains safe to drink.

Mayo: Water safe for all uses at St. Marys

Mayo: Water safe for all uses at St. Marys

Rochester Public Library awarded National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Rochester Public Library awarded National Medal for Museum and Library Service