Norovirus strikes The Royal Hawaiian, 100+ guests, employees affected

The Dept. of Health said at least 100 people have gotten sick from norovirus at The Royal Hawaiian.

Norovirus is a virus, similar to the stomach flu or food poisoning, with no cure or treatment and one that leaves those who contract it in severe pain and discomfort.

“The worst part of this virus is it’s associated with severe vomiting,” said Dr. Steven Berman, a specialist in infectious disease at Queens Medical Center, “so the people are absolutely miserable and become dehydrated.”

For those who contracted the illness, their vacation to paradise wasn’t what they expected.

“Unfortunately it tends to be epidemic and, my goodness, could you imagine someone coming all the way somewhere or getting on a ship paying all that money then becoming sick and having to go back,” said Berman.

While the Royal Hawaiian would not meet KHON2 for an on-camera interview, the hotel released the following statement apologizing to guests:

“The Royal Hawaiian is deeply sorry that a number of our guests and associates reported illnesses that the state Department of Health confirmed were due to Norovirus. These individuals received all required medical attention. Providing a safe environment is the essence of our business and we have been following all protocols to clean all areas of possible contamination multiple times. There are no new confirmed cases of the illness being reported. As an additional precautionary measure, the hotel has voluntarily closed the only kitchen that was affected for 72 hours to ensure the virus is completely eliminated and that we have taken every step necessary.”

The state health department said the outbreak was reported on May 17 and health inspectors have been at the hotel since Saturday helping with cleanup.

Health officials continue to investigate and said this is one of the largest outbreaks they’ve seen of norovirus in Hawaii, affecting both guests and employees.

One person was taken to the hospital and officials are still determining if it was related to norovirus.

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