CONCORD (CBS SF) — A Concord deli reopened Thursday morning after a county health department ordered it closed for 24 hours when about 45 people caught the norovirus spread by employees, the director of the Contra Costa County Department of Environmental Health said.

The North Park Deli based at 4085 Nelson Ave. catered an offsite event within the county on Friday that 110 people attended, department director Marilyn Underwood said.

Since Friday about 45 people from the event have reported feeling ill, Underwood said.

Department personnel suspected the illness had been brought on through food and went to the deli on Monday and interviewed the manager and employees, where an employee mentioned they had felt sick to their stomach, yet continued to work, Underwood said.

The department took samples from employees and determined two of the employees tested positive for norovirus, a gastrointestinal infection which entails projectile vomiting, diarrhea, running a fever and feeling nauseous for about 48 hours, Underwood said.

The virus is highly contagious and takes about 48 hours for symptoms to become apparent.

The employees and the others infected are reportedly all recovering, Underwood said.

After determining the source of the illness, the deli was ordered closed as of Tuesday at 5 p.m., Underwood said.

The restaurant had to do extra cleaning and throw out any food that could have been exposed.

Department inspectors returned Thursday morning and determined the facility safe for reopening.

“Norovirus is very persistent on surfaces,” Underwood said.

During an inspection on Monday, Underwood said employees were not strictly adhering to proper hand washing practices, which can lead to cross-contamination.

She said the department is trying to instill on them the importance of hand washing.

Under normal health department procedures restaurant facilities are inspected twice a year, however Underwood said the North Park Deli will see an increase in visits after this outbreak.

Deli owner Johnny Kim said this morning there was no indication that the two employees had been sick last week.

He said at the deli had no violations at its last health inspection and if there had been an issue with the food or facility procedures, they would work to correct it immediately.

He said business had resumed as usual after a day of thorough cleaning.

“Every customer is very important to us,” Kim said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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