The Caribou Coffee shop in Brooklyn Park reopened Monday after voluntarily closing on Friday and remaining closed over the weekend due to an apparent norovirus outbreak.
Company officials with Caribou Coffee confirm to FOX 9 that seven workers at the outlet had the norovirus last week. Spokeswoman Brianna Bauer said professional cleaners spent the entire weekend sanitizing the store before it reopened Monday morning. She said the source of the outbreak remains unknown.
"They're still screening employees and bringing in employees from other locations. They're doing all the right things ," said Jason Newby, Brooklyn Park's Public Health Manager.
According to the Minnesota Health Department, norovirus is highly contagious and can spread quickly. An infected person can pass it on two weeks after symptoms clear. That's why Caribou is requiring employees to get a note from a physician declaring they are no longer contagious before they can return to work.
It's estimated that 400-500 people visit that Caribou each day, but Brooklyn Park representatives say only one sickness has been officially reported from a coffee shop customer. In order to consider it an outbreak, those who were sickened need to report their illness to the hotline by calling 1-877-366-3455.
The CDC has a post about norovirus on its website. It notes that norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the U.S and contributes to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths every year. The post continues, "Norovirus is a very contagious virus. You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces," and goes on to say that it can be most dangerous for children, the elderly and those with other health concerns.
CNN reported that hundreds of cruise passengers and crew members have been sickened by the norovirus this winter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Federal reported that norovirus hit more than 600 passengers and crew on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas in January. Last month, the CDC reported that 114 passengers and 10 crew members on a Holland America cruise ship suffered vomiting and diarrhea during a week-long voyage.