THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has confirmed, through laboratory tests, that Norovirus was the cause of the gastrointestinal outbreak at 3 events catered by Maltese Grocery. To date, 85 people have reported being ill. “We are very sorry for everyone who has been affected and we take full responsibility,” stated Lisa and Dave Maltese, owners of Maltese Grocery. “We are working with the Health Unit and have taken every precaution to ensure this does not happen again. We thank our customers and friends for their ongoing support through this difficult time.”
In an earlier interview with NetNewsledger, Dave and Lisa shared how their staff, friends, and customers have been amazing in their support of this local iconic business. Earlier today, at Maltese, the store was filled with customers picking up seasonal favourites. Once reports of illness were received, the Health Unit and Maltese Grocery acted quickly by suspending the catering operations to allow an investigation to find out what happened.
Now that the Health Unit has determined the source of the outbreak, Maltese Grocery will be reopening catering operations. The grocer has a good inspection record and has been fully cooperative throughout the investigation. “We are confident in the steps that have been taken by Maltese Grocery,” says Abby Mackie, senior public health inspector with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.
Norovirus infections are characterized by a sudden onset of diarrhea and nausea. The illness is usually short-lived; symptoms lasting on average 24 hours. It is generally spread to people through contaminated food or contaminated commonly-touched surfaces (e.g. door handles, light switches) through hand-to-mouth actions.