Hundreds Of People Blindsided By Vicious And Debilitating Intestinal Virus

RYE BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It was a sickening situation in Westchester County.

Hundreds of people infected at the Hilton Westchester hotel, apparently with norovirus.

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Rye City Councilwoman Catherine Parker asked CBS 2’s Alice Gainer to interview her outside of her home and away from the germs as she recovered Tuesday night from norovirus.

“All of a sudden I woke up feeling extremely queasy,” Parker said. “The stomach cramps started kicking in at that point.”

Likewise, Andrea Blount of Mount Vernon asked Gainer not to shake her hand.

“The ball started rolling and we started finding out that a lot of our brunch guests were sick,” Blount said.

About 200 of the 825 guests for the Delta Sigma Theta sorority brunch were sickened after their April 21 event at the hotel. Parker said though she had heard about the spread of the virus at two events earlier in the week, the hotel assured her the Friday night fundraiser she was attending was fine.

“Everything had been sanitized and that it was actually going to be the healthiest place in Westchester County to eat,” Parker said.

But by Sunday she was sick. Currently The Hilton Westchester has taken steps like:

* Industrial cleaning with focus on the banquet halls

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* Putting health staff and sanitarians around to make sure staffers are carrying out the health department recommendations.

* Discontinuing service of uncooked foods prepared on site

* Providing a 72-hour furlough to all banquet and kitchen staff

The hotel will remain open during all of that, and as for the Westchester County Department of Health, officials said they haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact cause of the outbreak.

That means Blount clearly won’t be returning for any events anytime soon.

“Not until they find out what the problem is and I hope they do,” she said.

And so do the many others who were recovering Tuesday night.

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