Mama C's in Maumee reopens following Norovirus outbreak

MAUMEE (WTVG) - A Maumee donut shop resumed business Monday morning following an outbreak of norovirus that sickened 400 people.

Mama C's Donuts and Coffee opened its doors to customers at 5 A.M., after being closed for nearly a week.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department began investigating an outbreak of the norovirus that sickened 325 people in Lucas County and 69 in Wood County. Nineteen additional cases were considered "secondary" spread to patients by others rather than direct contact through the restaurant.

Mama C's closed Tuesday to allow an industrial cleaning company to come in and clean with products designed to kill the norovirus.

The owner of Mama C's, Chandar Chao, spoke to 13abc Monday morning before reopening.

"It means a lot that we've been here for 14 years and nothing has happened, and that hit us so hard," said Chao. "We love our business, we love our customers, we love our friends and our community."

The health department gave the donut shop clearance on Friday. Health officials said earlier St. Luke's Hospital reported an influx of emergency room visits from people suffering forborne illness. The customers reportedly told St. Luke's they had eaten at Mama C's. The sickened individuals reported eating doughnuts from Mama C's between the dates of Aug. 4-7.

The health department is working to determine whether the potential virus contamination came from employees, customers or elsewhere.

The health department says the virus is common at this time of the year and is important to emphasize that food workers (restaurants/resorts/festival booths), experiencing the above mentioned symptoms, should refrain from working (preparing and handling food/drinks/ice) for at least 72 hours (three days) after their symptoms go away, and that anyone else experiencing symptoms consistent with norovirus should also refrain from handling food for others until 72 hours after their symptoms go away.

Symptoms of a norovirus infection can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, and sometimes a mild fever. People typically become ill 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus, and symptoms usually last one to two days. It is important to note that people can spread the virus for up to 2 weeks after their symptoms go away.