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Swimmers back in pool after dining at restaurant with norovirus

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment confirms one of the people who ate at an Overland Park Buffalo Wild Wings and became ill tested positive for norovirus.

Affected customers dined there January 27th, the day of a fundraiser for the Shawnee Mission South Swim and Dive Team.

“The day after I woke up with an awful stomach ache and started throwing up half-hour later and continued to throw up for eight or nine hours,” senior swimmer Thomas Ott said.

“I got up and I checked my phone and everyone in the groupchat was like did you get sick? Yeah we all got sick,” swim team co-captain Sophie Vogt said.

Two students were hospitalized, lab results from several other diners are pending.

January 27th is the same day news broke of an earlier outbreak at the New Theatre, also in Overland Park. Health officials say that outbreak has now sickened more than 600. 18 people also recently had gastrointestinal illness at the Marrilac Campus of KU Hospital.

“We just continue to investigate. Often times you don’t find an index case, showing it started here. It just spreads so fast you try to identify people who are ill,” Johnson County Health Services Division Director Nancy Tausz said.

Ott worried how potential norovirus could affect his spot on the relay team.

“I was worried about when I could come back and when I could swim and so were my parents, I’ve worked real hard this season,” he said.

“Don’t go swimming for a couple weeks after your symptoms have stopped because you can shed that virus,” Tauaz said.

The team’s coach opted to let affected students who didn’t have diarrhea swim. Friday, Ott’s relay team qualified for Saturday’s finals. Now he’s hoping the health department can get to the bottom of things.

“Because I was throwing up and I went to the emergency room with stomach cramps and extreme dehydration, so I think it would be beneficial if the health department could go check this out,” he said.

The Johnson County Health Department is urging everyone to use proper hygiene, especially food preparers.

Buffalo Wild Wings shut down for cleaning when the illnesses were reported. An inspection discovered the restaurant didn't have hot water in the employee restroom and items blocking the sink.

In a statement, Buffalo Wild Wings said they "take food safety very seriously."

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