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Norovirus Confirmed As Source Of Westchester Hilton Illnesses

Health department officials confirmed that illnesses suffered by visitors to the Hilton Rye were caused by an outbreak of Norovirus.
Health department officials confirmed that illnesses suffered by visitors to the Hilton Rye were caused by an outbreak of Norovirus. Photo Credit: The Daily Voice file

RYE BROOK, N.Y. -- The virus that left more than 100 people sick at the Westchester Hilton in April has been confirmed as Norovirus, the Westchester County Department of Health announced Wednesday.

More than 100 people reported becoming ill after attending events at the Hilton Westchester Hotel in Rye Brook around the weekend of April 20. One person was hospitalized, health department spokesman Caren Halbfinger said at the time.

Health department officials had suspected that Norovirus was the cause, and worked with hotel staff to prevent further spread of the virus, whose symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. The health department has had an increased presence at the hotel for the past week, and will have sanitarians present at every event as long as necessary.

Hotel management has been cooperative with the health department, and has notified organizers of upcoming events about the virus. They have followed the recommendations of health department officials, including having an outside contractor provide industrial cleaning of all hotel surfaces, with a focus on banquet halls. Corporate health staff and sanitarians have been present to ensure that health department recommendations are carried out by staff. The hotel has discontinued service of uncooked foods that are prepared on site, and substituted commercially prepared food, and provided a 72-hour paid furlough to all banquet service and kitchen staff who were scheduled to work Wednesday through Friday.

The Westchester Hilton had previously required all kitchen and serving staff to wear gloves, and screened employees to make sure that they were healthy before starting each shift. The hotel also engaged a commercial cleaning company to clean the kitchen and common areas, and had discontinued self-service buffets and shut down touch screens in the hotel, and also made alcohol hand sanitizer readily available throughout the hotel.

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