More than 70 sick with norovirus following West Warwick wedding - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

More than 70 sick with norovirus following West Warwick wedding

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By: Samantha Lavien

Twitter: @samanthalavien

The Department of Health says 74 people who attended an April 5th wedding at the West Valley Inn in West Warwick got the norovirus.

"We have no evidence that says the disease was spread by anything the restaurant did. It could have just as well been spread by a sick person," said Dr. Michael Fine the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health.

The restaurant says they served more than 700 people the day of the outbreak and the only ones to report being sick attended the wedding.

"The staff has been checked, all the cooks have been cleared of norovirus. We did have one hostess who became ill on Tuesday who was in direct contact with the people in the wedding," said executive Chef at the West Valley Inn Steven Simas.

The highly contagious virus is very common. There have been 64 outbreaks in the state since November.

In this case, the Department of Health says the West Valley Inn was cited with a series of minor violations days after people got sick.

"The violation here that we would be concerned about associated with this would be direct hand contact with things like the salad utensils," said a representative from the Department of Health.

ABC 6 News pulled all the inspection reports for the restaurant. They have been cited multiple times over the past several years for minor. A representative from the West Valley Inn says all of the violations have been fixed.

"There's no clear link between the violations and the illness," said Fine.

The Department of Health says the outbreak is now over. There are no reports of new cases coming in.

West Valley Inn did release the following statement on the incident:

"Many people say that if you live in RI long enough, you will come to the West Valley Inn for a wedding, function, our family style dinners, or our famous "soup and sauce" to go items. We have been a RI institution for 37 years, and proudly host between 250-300 weddings each year at our facility. Collectively, our senior chefs have been with us for over 40 years.

We wish the 28 individuals who were confirmed as having a norovirus, all attendees at one wedding, on Saturday, April 5th, our best wishes. Notably, there were 3 other wedding events happening simultaneously at our facility, as well as events the day before, and for days after. No other guests, other than the guests at this one event, reported any illness.

Our kitchen, staff and facility have been inspected and cleared of any bacterial concern, and it is business as usual at West Valley Inn as we look forward to a celebration of Easter this weekend.

West Valley Inn is committed to serving our guests in the highest of quality standards and value, and we remain, "Rhode Island's Premier Banquet Facility."

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