FAIRVIEW, Ore. – After being closed for eight days while health officials investigated an outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea, Blue Lake Regional Park will reopen to swimming and boating Wednesday.
Multnomah County health officials said Tuesday that all the evidence they’ve gathered through their investigation points to someone having a “fecal accident” that introduced the norovirus into the lake.
They said people probably got sick after they swallowed lake water. They believe there is now little risk of getting sick from being in the lake.
“Testing the lake water for norovirus requires pumping about 13 gallons of water through a filter,” said Dr. Jennier Vines, Multnomah County’s deputy health officer, “so a positive result will be final confirmation of norovirus as the cause but does not tell us anything about the actual risk to swimmers. Expert advice and common sense suggest that waiting at least a week before reopening should be sufficient from a public health standpoint.”
Helath officials said once the lake reopens there will be signs at the lake asking people to report vomiting or diarrhea that starts after one or two days of swimming in the lake.
Health officials stress that people who are feeling sick or who are under five years old shouldn’t go into the lake.