Minnesota Ground Round closed due to community norovirus outbreak (whatever that means)

As a child of the 80s in Southern Ontario I grew up like many others: living for cross-border shopping trips to Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse and convincing my parents to buy my toys at Walmart and Hills (those were not in Canada). A favorite dinner spot for our family was the Ground Round. There was Genny Cream Ale on tap (for my parents) and bowls of popcorn on the table (for me).

A Ground Round restaurant in Minnesota has closed following a community norovirus outbreak affecting over 30 individuals and according to the Winona Daily News is going through a deep clean.ground round logo_full

Winona County health officials announced the outbreak Wednesday. Doug Schultz, the Minnesota Department of Health spokesman for foodborne illnesses, said the department learned of the situation in Winona County on Sept. 30, but norovirus illnesses may have started a week before that.

Norovirus, a highly-contagious illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea, was confirmed in people who ate at the Ground Round restaurant in Winona, Schultz said. He pointed out that the virus is not linked to a single event or location and is being transmitted in the community, so the number of people sickened will likely increase.

When Ground Round was informed of the presence of the virus, they closed voluntarily so they could deep-clean the facility, Schultz said.

Ground Round owner Tim Beier said the restaurant voluntarily closed to take extra precautionary measures for the safety of employees and guests. It has not yet reopened but plans to soon.

What’s missing in the coverage is how many of the community illnesses are linked to eating at the Ground Round and whether any staff showed up to work ill. Some must be linked to the restaurant or a deep clean wouldn’t be warranted.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.