HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The City of Hartford has temporarily closed the Hartford Marriott’s ballroom and surrounding areas after a number of event attendees fell sick.
The first cases were reported on Monday, but now more people have gotten sick. Hartford’s Health and Human Services Department is working with the State Department of Public Health to investigate. The State Laboratory is doing testing to try to determine what exactly is making all these people ill.
So far, 60 people have become sick after attending events at the hotel late last week and early this week. Investigators are trying to figure out if anyone else has been infected.
According to Dr. Gary Rhule, the Director for the City of Hartford’s Health and Human Services Department, those people had a Norovirus-like illness. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.
“On Monday, we received reports of approximately 20 students and several adults becoming ill while attending a three-day event at the Connecticut Convention Center and the Hartford Marriott sponsored by the Connecticut Music Educators Association. Since then, we have learned of similar illnesses involving two other groups that stayed and attended events at the Hartford Marriott last weekend and early this week,” Rhule said.
Investigators are interviewing event attendees, as well as staff at the hotel and the Connecticut Convention Center, which is connected to the hotel. They are collecting samples from those who have gotten sick. The State Laboratory is conducting tests on those samples.
The hotel is cooperating with the investigation and complying with the city’s order to clean the ballroom and surrounding area.
“It’s a protocol where they clean and sanitize,” said Rhule. “They go in with a chemical that actually kills Norovirus to actually sanitize the entire area.”
The City of Hartford did not require the Connecticut Convention Center to undergo the cleaning and sanitizing.
The Connecticut Convention Center released a statement about the sicknesses this past weekend and early this week:
Last weekend the Connecticut Convention Center received reports of approximately 20 attendees becoming ill while attending the Connecticut Music Educators Association All-State Conference. The Convention Center has not received any additional reports since then. We are working proactively with the City of Hartford Department of Health and Human Services and the Connecticut Department of Public Health to ensure the continued health and safety of our guests. Any additional questions can be directed to the City of Hartford Department of Health and Human Services,” the Convention Center said.
Anyone who has been to the Marriott recently and has symptoms is asked to call the city’s Health and Human Services Department.
The Hartford Marriott released the following statement about the incident:
“We have been informed by the City of Hartford Department of Health and Human Services that some of our recent guests have reported illness consistent with Norovirus. We are working closely with the local Department of Health and Human Services and are following their guidance to address the matter. We take hotel hygiene and cleanliness very seriously, and the well-being of our guests remains one of our highest priorities. If you have further questions, please contact the City of Hartford Department of Health and Human Services,” the hotel said.
Officials have not released the cause of the sickness.