In July over 80 staff and volunteers were hit with a touch of the norovirus prior to the Commonwealth Games (the Olympics, sort of, except the only nations invited are part of the British, uh, commonwealth). According to Herald Scotland, HS Greater Glasgow and Clyde released a report (unfortunately we can’t locate it to mine it for other gems) that states that the lack of (and inappropriate) cleaning and sanitation of a specific washroom was to blame – and so was using ineffective alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead of handwashing.
Now identified as the very common but debilitating norovirus, the bug was first reported on July 15. The Games opened on July 23.
The report said: “This outbreak did not have serious public health consequences. However, due to the timing of the outbreak, there was a risk to the success of the Games if the virus spread beyond the security staff and cases were reported among athletes and team officials.
“Because of the association with the Commonwealth Games there was immense media and political interest.”
The report reveals “deficiencies of cleaning” at the Athletes’ Village. It said: “Some areas of the Village were not covered by any cleaning arrangements. These included the pedestrian screening area, general security areas and one block of toilets being used by security staff.”
It found staff were using the “wrong type of alcohol hand gel, which would not have been effective against norovirus” rather than washing with soap and water.
It also discovered three different cleaning firms contracted at the site were using different products, including quaternary ammonium compounds, which do not kill norovirus. Staff, the report found, did not know how to report something that needed cleaned up.
Eighty of the 83 cases were security staff. No athlete was affected.
Environmental health officers, meanwhile, checked temporary toilet blocks and found they were substandard. The report said: “In many cases, there were no hand washing facilities with only non-gold standard hand gels being provided.”
Games organisers said their catering, cleaning and waste planning regime was “fully compliant with all relevant industry standards” and insisted they quickly teamed up with health officials to overcome the bug.
Missing a restroom on a list of sanitation stops, using incorrect sanitizers (like quats) in the middle of an outbreak and having only alcohol-based hand sanitizers (that apparently weren’t VF481) isn’t industry best practice.