Food & Drink

Tacoma restaurant reopens after suspected norovirus outbreak

Foley’s on the Green reopened Friday afternoon, a day following a closure by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for a suspected norovirus outbreak.

Foley’s sanitized the restaurant and discarded ready-to-eat food products.

"We apologize, and we feel bad for the people who got sick, but we're still at a loss ourselves because we don't really know how it got here," Foley's owner Jason Follen said Friday afternoon.

Since April 23, 25 reports of suspected norovirus were made connecting ill diners to Foley’s on the Green, a restaurant and sports bar at the Meadow Park Golf Course in Tacoma at 7108 Lakewood Drive W. The health department expects to receive further reports of illness from the outbreak.

Diners reported becoming ill after eating at the restaurant between April 21 and 23.

“They experienced symptoms, which include vomiting and diarrhea, 32-44 hours after eating. Their symptoms lasted about a day. The ill customers reported eating a variety of food items. We suspect norovirus to be the pathogen based on the symptoms,” said a health department alert Thursday.

Those who ate at Foley’s on the Green and later became ill are asked to contact the health department to file a report at food@tpchd.org, file a report online at tpchd.org, or call 253-798-4712.

Norovirus is an extremely contagious virus known as the “cruise ship sickness” because of its habit of spreading quickly in close quarters.

Symptoms include violent diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes simultaneously. Symptoms can start between 12-48 hours after exposure. Typically, there are no long lasting effects and most who become ill feel better in a few days.

The virus is described as “environmentally persistent” by the health department because it can live on surfaces for up to two weeks and it takes very little exposure of virus particles to make a person ill.

The health department recommends those who become ill with norovirus take extra precautions to avoid passing the virus to family members. To disinfect, use a bleach solution of 1 ⅔ cups bleach to a gallon of water. Allow surface contact of at least one minute.

Food service workers who become ill should stay home and wait 48 hours until after symptoms have passed before returning to work, the health department advised.

The outbreak is the second this year in Pierce County. Two Tacoma-area El Toro restaurants were temporarily closed in January following widespread reports of norovirus illness. About 400 diners became ill in that outbreak.

Sue Kidd: 253-597-8270, @tntdiner
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