It’s been a rough GOP Convention, with protests outside and inside, allegations of speech-stealing, and now a reported norovirus outbreak. Yep, folks at the 2016 GOP Convention are now dealing with a nasty stomach bug often found on cruise ships, in addition to all of the rest of the convention drama. The situation has reportedly gotten so bad in Cleveland that nearly a dozen staffers from the California Republican Party have been quarantined. The unlucky GOP staffers aren’t just quarantined, either, they have been quarantined nearly an hour outside the city in an attempt to quell the spread of the suspected norovirus outbreak.
As The Hill reports, health officials are still in the process of doing an array of tests to determine if a norovirus outbreak at the GOP convention is the actual cause of the rash of illnesses popping up among staffers.
According to reports, healthcare workers say that the sick GOP Convention staff members have all reported and/or displayed symptoms of norovirus, but it will take some time before the nasty bug can be confirmed. Erie County Health Commissioner Peter Schade spoke to local media about the situation.
“We’ve got about 11 who have been sick over the last few days, and we’ve been out there every day and working with them to eliminate the spread [between] the resort and the delegation from California.”
Unfortunately for those attending the GOP Convention, the California staffers who have now been quarantined as a result of the suspected norovirus outbreak were some of the first people to make it to the Cleveland convention. Because the currently infected group was lingering around the venue for days, there is real fear that the norovirus outbreak could spread far and wide among the remaining 500 or so delegates at the GOP convention.
Norovirus is definitely no fun; the symptoms of the virus include extreme diarrhea and vomiting. Not only that, when norovirus outbreaks pop up, they tend to spread quickly and explosively when people are packed together, such as in schools, nursing homes, and cruise ships according to the CDC.
The GOP Convention could also be considered a “closed” or “crowded” place, so this norovirus outbreak could cause some pretty big problems for a bunch of people.
The Washington Post reports that despite the high probability of the norovirus outbreak spreading far and wide among GOP delegates, so far, only the quarantined delegates from California have been the only ones who have shown symptoms.
California GOP chairman Jim Brulte has said that his group of delegates will continue to participate in the GOP Convention; currently, his delegation sits next to the group from Maryland. However, on Tuesday, the California delegates were being lodged nearly 60 miles away from the Quicken Loans Arena at the Kalahari Resort. According to Brulte, it appears as though norovirus may have been brought to the GOP Convention by a single sick staffer who passed the bug on to his wife.
After that, the suspected norovirus situation snowballed, and now roughly a dozen of the 36 California staff members are ill. Their symptoms reportedly started last Thursday, and the local health department has now gotten involved in the potentially serious situation. Stool samples have been collected so that they can be analyzed to confirm the presence of norovirus.
“We will continue to follow all county health department directives to keep the illness from spreading. We wish our staffers a speedy recovery.”
Convention organizers are reportedly doing everything in their power to keep the outbreak in check. Delegates have been advised to wash and sanitize their hands regularly and not to shake hands. They have also been told not to share food or drinks, to report symptoms, and to stay off GOP Convention buses if they are experiencing symptoms consistent with the suspected norovirus outbreak.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]