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Suspected norovirus outbreak at Poke Pop in Fircrest

Communications Specialist Steve Metcalf
by Steve Metcalf11/05/2019 2:34 p.m.
Updated: 11/07/2019

Update—Nov. 7, 2019

We received new reports from people who said they got sick with norovirus-like illness after they ate at Poke Pop in Fircrest. Since yesterday’s update, we received 9 more illness reports for a total of 26.

The illness reports fall into 2 categories:

  • Primary—22 report they got ill after they ate at Poke Pop.
  • Secondary—4 got ill away from Poke Pop from exposure to customers who reported illness after they ate there.

The exposure dates range from Oct. 30-Nov. 4 for everyone who got sick. People got ill about a day and a half after exposure. Their illness lasted about 2 days.

Reports of illness have decreased so this will be our last regular update on the suspected norovirus outbreak. Read our previous posts below and go to www.tpchd.org/norovirus to learn more.

Update—Nov. 6, 2019

We cleared Poke Pop to reopen late this morning. Employees met the required preopening steps to clean and sanitize the restaurant. We inspected the food establishment to ensure conditions did not pose risks to public health. On Nov. 5, we closed Poke Pop because of a suspected norovirus outbreak. Since then, we received 11 new illness reports for a total of 17.

Of the 11 new reported illnesses:

  • 9 people ate at the restaurant.
  • 2 are secondary cases. (Customers who reported illness after they ate at Poke Pop exposed these 2 people to their illness away from the restaurant.)

For all 17 ill people, the exposure dates range from Oct. 30-Nov. 4. People got sick about a day and a half after exposure. Their illness lasted about 2 days.

If you ate at Poke Pop and became ill, we want to hear from you. Contact the Health Department at food@tpchd.org, report online, or call (253) 798-4712. Find 2-year inspection reports for food establishments in Pierce County at www.tpchd.org/foodinspections. Read our previous post below to learn more.

Original Post—Nov. 5, 2019

Our Food & Community Safety staff are working with Poke Pop, 2013 Mildred St. W., Fircrest, on a suspected norovirus outbreak. We closed the restaurant late Tuesday morning (Nov. 5) for at least 24 hours. Employees will clean and sanitize the food establishment to ensure the public is no longer at risk.

Six people who were part of a group of 8 said they got sick with norovirus-like symptoms after they ate at the restaurant Nov. 1. They came down with symptoms between a day and a day and a half after they ate there. Their symptoms—vomiting, diarrhea, nausea—lasted from a day to a day and a half.

The meal they ate at Poke Pop is the only one the 6 customers have in common during the period they got sick.

In addition to cleaning and sanitizing the restaurant, staff will throw out all ready-to-eat food ingredients like produce, bread, and cheese. We are interviewing employees to determine who worked the day the customers visited and if any employees worked while ill. We will inspect the restaurant Nov. 6 to ensure it is safe for the public before it reopens. 

If you ate at Poke Pop and became ill, we want to hear from you. Contact the Health Department at food@tpchd.org, report online, or call (253) 798-4712. Find 2-year inspection reports for food establishments in Pierce County at www.tpchd.org/foodinspections.

Keep norovirus at bay.

Norovirus is highly contagious and always around us. It can cause diarrhea and vomiting, often at the same time. Symptoms typically last a day or 2. It’s the same virus often related to cruise ship illness. Learn more at www.tpchd.org/norovirus.

Norovirus infographic

We need to keep norovirus out of food establishments to prevent outbreaks. Fresh, ready-to-eat foods that requires lots of hands-on preparation—sandwiches, salads, fruit cups—have a higher chance of involvement in a norovirus outbreak. To protect customers from norovirus and other foodborne illness:

  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. This is especially after bathroom visits and cleaning.
  • Avoid barehand contact with ready-to-eat food. Use gloves or utensils like tongs.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.

The state’s Paid Sick Leave Law means food workers don’t have to face financial hardship when they take time off from work to care of their health. Learn more at www.tpchd.org/paidsickleave.

How to clean for norovirus.

Clean vomit or diarrhea accidents immediately.

Step 1. Remove vomit or poop.

  • Pick up the chunks with paper towels or other disposable material.
  • Soak up liquids with absorbent materials. Use kitty litter or dry oatmeal for carpeted areas.
  • Double bag and discard.
  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner.

Step 2. Sanitize.

  • Disinfect hard surfaces using 1 2/3 cups of household bleach per gallon of water. Allow for 1 minute of contact time.
  • Sanitize all handles and knobs in your house with the bleach solution.
  • Linens (including clothing, towels, napkins): Wash separately in hot water and dry on high.
  • Steam clean carpets using the highest setting for heat.
  • Avoid cross-contamination (use separate sanitation cloths for bathroom and other surfaces).
  • Clean and disinfect all containers used (e.g., buckets).

If you ate at Poke Pop and became ill, contact the Health Department at food@tpchd.org, report online, or call (253) 798-4712.

  1. Updated: 11/07/2019
  2. Updated: 11/06/2019
Communications Specialist Steve Metcalf

by Steve Metcalf

Steve helps share timely and relevant public health information.

 

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