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Stanhope Beach Resort and Conference Centre
The public health office has ordered the Stanhope Beach Resort and Conference Centre to stop serving food after a norovirus outbreak made at least 115 people sick.
Dr. Heather Morrison, the province's chief public health officer, said stool samples her office got back Tuesday confirmed it was norovirus and based on the number of people who got sick, she issued a health order to suspend all food and beverage service.
That includes the resort and the Red Dory Restaurant.
"Basically when we hear of this many people sick we don't want it to happen to anyone else so to err on the side of caution we've gone to this step of suspending the food and beverage service," she said.
That suspension is until further notice.
Morrison said her office had reports from people who attended four weddings at the resort between Thursday and Sunday.
This is the second norovirus outbreak at the resort in recent weeks with more than 60 people who became sick after three events at the resort the weekend of Aug. 17.
The virus spreads from infected people, consuming contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.
Proper hygiene can help prevent spreading the virus because it can move from person to person, such as by shaking hands, and can contaminate food during preparation.
The virus can also spread through respiratory particles when an infected person flushes the toilet.
Symptoms can take a few days to emerge and they include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.
Morrison said there weren't any reported cases at the resort between the first outbreak and the latest.
The public health office is still investigating the latest outbreak and sent food and water samples away for testing, she said.
"Until we're sure that there aren't more people becoming ill and that we're satisfied with the cleaning and disinfection processes that are in place we won't advise re-opening until that time."
Morrison said there will be an inspection before the resort re-opens its food service.
"The resort is cooperating very well," she said.
Heather White is one of the people who got sick at the resort, but in her case she had to suffer through it at her own wedding.
White got married Sunday and said she woke up that morning at about 3:30 a.m. when she started to get sick.
"Honestly, I was devastated," she said.
When she first heard the reports from August, White was nervous about having her wedding at the resort, but said she trusted in the fact the public health office had cleared it.
"Basically we're just trying to do our best to make sure the events go smoothly somewhere else other than Stanhope," Paul Murphy, DP Murphy's vice-president of finance and corporate counsel
"I felt more secure," she said.
White said she ended up missing out on the first part of her wedding day, including all the preparations, as she stayed in bed and waited for the medications she took to take effect.
"Eventually things sort of subsided and I was able to get up," she said.
Of the people who attended her wedding, White said she heard from 55 who said they got sick, including her daughter who was up all night Monday.
White said the resort staff didn't mention any problems when she talked to them about what was happening to her.
But despite everything that happened, White said Sunday was still a special, beautiful day.
"Thankfully I was able to get through it," she said.
Stanhope Beach Resort and Conference Centre is a DP Murphy property and Paul Murphy, the company's vice-president of finance and corporate counsel, said resort staff are talking to people who booked events to try and help them find other venues while the order is in place.
"Basically we're just trying to do our best to make sure the events go smoothly somewhere else other than Stanhope," he said.
Murphy said the first reports of sick guests came in Monday and nothing major changed at the resort between the first and second outbreak.
The resort maintained a high level of cleanliness and sent staff members who showed symptoms home immediately, he said.
"We've maintained that through till the present time."
Murphy said there were no indications another outbreak was coming and the management thought the resort was through it.
"Certainly we were disappointed it appears not to have been resolved."
The resort is cooperating with the public health office, Murphy said, and he agrees with the decision to shut down food service.
"We think it's the proper course of action at this time."
In the meantime, the resort's food and beverage areas are undergoing a complete disinfection, Murphy said.