Editor’s note: Due to incorrect information received by The Blade, the original story listed an incorrect number of people sickened by norovirus last year in Ohio.
Norovirus cases linked to food from Mama C’s Donuts in Maumee have climbed in Lucas County to more than 300, local health officials announced Friday.
Toledo-Lucas County Health Department officials said during a news conference that cases of the virus linked to food eaten at the restaurant has climbed to 300 while 19 people fell ill by coming in contact with those who who ate there.
Health officials said the restaurant is cooperating and a cleaning crew was inside the building on Conant Street on Thursday. The restaurant could reopen as early as Friday afternoon, pending a final clearance inspection.
Officials began investigating this week after a spate of people developed the gastrointestinal illness. All had similar symptoms and had eaten food from the shop between Aug. 4 and Tuesday, health department officials said.
“The issue comes back to when the product stopped being sold and consumed. We’re expecting that to be probably Tuesday,” Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said during a Thursday news conference. “I wouldn’t think we would see a ton more cases, but if we do, then we’ll have to see what’s going on at that point in time.”
Symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, and body aches.
The restaurant hired a professional cleaning company that will use a disinfectant for norovirus, Mr. Zgodzinski said. Cleaning should be complete some time Friday. The restaurant has been closed since Tuesday.
“They’ve done what they’re supposed to do. They worked with us,” he said of Mama C’s.
Mr. Zgodzinski said the department put out a statewide alert so other health departments are aware of the situation.
Alex Aspacher, spokesman for the Wood County Health District, said officials think a dozen norovirus cases there are connected to Mama C’s products provided to businesses in Wood County.
The doughnuts were sold in two Wood County locations — Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green and a Marathon gas station at 25570 N. Dixie Highway, Perrysburg. Health investigators have been in contact with both businesses, Mr. Aspacher said.
The Ohio Department of Health is providing the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department with assistance as needed, state health department spokesman Cassie Balasubramanian said, including testing submitted samples.
Last year in Ohio, there were 76 norovirus outbreaks which sickened at least 3,031 people, according to the state health department.
Health care providers in Ohio are not required to report individual cases of norovirus to public health agencies, but are required to report outbreaks of two or more cases.
As the investigation continues, Mr. Zgodzinski reiterated a message of prevention to the public.
“Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands,” he said. “After you go the the bathroom, before you eat food, before you prep food ... and keep healthy.”
Anyone who has additional questions is urged to call the health department at 419-213-4264.
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