CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind.– The Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) says a Crawfordsville Cracker Barrell is not at fault after 20 people reported getting sick this month at the restaurant, and two of them tested positive for norovirus.
The incident occurred at the Cracker Barrel located at 1005 Candlewood Lane in Crawfordsville. On Feb. 6, MCHD learned of eight people who became ill after dining at the restaurant on Feb. 3. Iwaspoisoned.com was tracking the incidents at the Cracker Barrel, leading FOX59 to inquire about the norovirus.
Since then, MCHD learned of 20 total sick patrons from seven different meal parties during that time period. No new reports have been received since Feb. 8. They were all contacted by an environmental health investigator.
One of the people who became ill is former Indy news anchor Bruce Kopp, as well as his wife and son. He says he’s still recovering.
On Feb. 12, MCHD received confirmation from a lab that two of the ill people tested positive for norovirus. Norovirus is a highly contagious “stomach bug” which is normally spread through infected individuals. While it is contagious, it is not tied to any long-term health effects.
“Though we do not have lab confirmation for the other people who became ill (because samples were unable to be obtained), their symptoms are suggestive of norovirus as well,” MCHD said in a release.
Norovirus is the leading cause of illness and outbreaks from food in the United States, according to MCHD. The exact food or drink item in this case has not been identified. It’s not uncommon for multiple items to be contaminated.
Before learning any of the cases were confirmed to be norovirus, the restaurant proactively brought in a professional, specialized crew after they decided to close the restaurant for a night. A “fogging” of the business was conducted. They threw away all menus, along with peg and checkers games. The items were replaced to eliminate any and all possible viruses. They are open for business.
Officials say Cracker Barrel’s response to the incident goes beyond state requirements. They have cooperated fully and complied with all requests from MCHD.
MCHD determined the restaurant is in compliance with all health regulations and is not considered to be a risk to public health. The establishment will not face any fines.