Norovirus update: 40 guests, 40 staff infected at Richmond hotel

At least 80 people – 40 guests and 40 staff – were hit by the norovirus outbreak at an airport hotel in Richmond last weekend.

The Richmond News reported Monday how hundreds of Mother’s Day diners were left without brunch dates – after the outbreak closed restaurants in two neighbouring Richmond hotels, Harold’s Bistro in the Sheraton on Westminster Highway and Cavu Kitchen in the Hilton, around the corner on Minoru Boulevard.

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Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) confirmed the number to the News on Wednesday morning, but suggested it may rise as “not everyone reports their illness” straight away and, with it being a hotel, “people are traveling through.”

According to (VCH), a number of the Sheraton’s food handling and cleaning staff, as well as hotel guests, did appear to be suffering on Saturday and Sunday from a norovirus outbreak.

However, Sanjeet Sadana, general manager at the nearby Hilton, said there was “no reported guest sickness.”

“They closed down all food and beverage facilities in the hotel. A VCH environmental health officer inspected Saturday,” added the VCH spokesperson.

“Also, on Saturday a kitchen staffer at the Hilton hotel went home ill. The staffer had assisted at the Sheraton on Friday. They also closed down their kitchen as a precaution.”

Both hotels, said the spokesperson, were deep-cleaning the food and beverage areas Monday, so those areas of the hotel are still closed.

VCH was sending health inspectors to both hotels this week to follow up on what has been done.

If there are no new reports of people being sick, they will be permitted to resume food and beverage operations.

The News had reached out to the Sheraton for comment but didn’t receive a reply.

Norovirus is a group of viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis, an infection of the digestive tract (stomach and intestine).

The virus can also be spread on surfaces like countertops or sink taps. The virus can survive for a long time on these surfaces if they are not properly cleaned.

People infected usually get better within a few days.

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