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Virus could have sickened 21 at Crowne Plaza

Original post made on Jul 3, 2008

Public health officials suspect norovirus sickened 21 people who visited Palo Alto's Crowne Plaza Cabana hotel in late June, county spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said Wednesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008, 11:29 AM

Comments (7)

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Posted by You-Get-What-You-Pay-For
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 3, 2008 at 9:21 am

> During an August 2007 routine inspection, the hotel was cited
> for a "major" problem with washing and sanitation.
> Surfaces weren't adequately sanitized and "equipment/utensils not
> being properly washed, rinsed and sanitized," the environmental
> health inspector found.

Sanitation is not a "hotel" problem--it's a people problem. People who were not brought up in a culture where personal hygiene and public health are not clearly linked in the home, and at every level of society, are going to be problematic when working in a country where personal hygiene is well understood.

The hotel management needs both encouragement, and punishment, if these sorts of problems persist. Perhaps requiring the hotel to shut down for a week for staff re-education might be a better solution than issuing "warnings" or imposing small fines.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 3, 2008 at 10:51 am

The Crown Plaza Cabana Hotel clearly has a huge PR problems. I wouldn't eat there nor will I stay there and I certainly won't recommend it for my out-of-town guests.

The Management needs to get on this ASAP, and publicize how they intend to clean it up and re-educate their food handlers. Meanwhile, they should start by insisting that clean latex gloves be worn at all times.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2008 at 11:50 am

We like to pride ourselves that we are superior to other countries in our personal hygiene is the norm, but I often have my doubts and wonder.

In one of my kids' preschool classrooms, the teacher made the whole class line up and she supervised handwashing before snack and lunch. It took a good ten minutes, but she was rigorous and the kids all knew how to do a good job. The other classrooms did nothing.

In elementary school, I have seen one teacher rigorously use hand sanitizer in the classrooms particularly before lunch, before using computers and other shared items and after anyone sneezes they had to use it too. In the other classrooms I have seen nothing.

There is the assumption that kids learn from somewhere that they should wash their hands when visiting the restroom, but it isn't inforced by anyone. If they are not taught at home then they never learn it and not all homes - even in Palo Alto - have the same standards of hygiene.

At the same time, the way our kids are eating is not hygienic at all. To begin with, some of the foods are more like toys than foods - fruit by the foot and fruit rolls ups with tatoos and the like, do not lend to hygienic eating practices. Drinking out of cans in particular and bottles which I was taught never to do, I always had to use a straw, can also lead to the spread of bacteria, after all who knows where these cans and bottles have been stored before you drink from them.

On top of that, having snacks or pizza after sports games where the kids have no opportunity of cleaning up is another bad habit, particularly when many kids start fingering the food before deciding which cookie or which slice of pizza to take.

Our personal hygiene as a nation is not as good as it used to be. Of course we can say that the use of latex gloves and other standards help, but on the whole are personal habits and eating habits are asking for problems.


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Posted by Another parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 3, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Back when my kids were younger and it was my turn to provide snacks, I would hand out wipes if there wasn't a bathroom close by so kids could wash their hands. When I was a team manager and setting up snack lists, I would remind the parents providing snacks to make sure THEIR hands were clean when they did the prep (for things like cut oranges, watermelon, sandwiches, etc.).

I didn't need to lose players to an avoidable stomach bug!


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Posted by Jon
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 5, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Door handles, computer keyboards and mice, etc are all great vectors of diseases. As a former student at Palo Alto High, the issue is not dealt with.

What should installed:

~Different doors (either the long bar type you can push, automated doors, or doors without handles.

~Motion detection faucets.

~Signs reminding students to wash their hands before they leave.


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Posted by Tired of ignorant people
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2008 at 7:47 pm

I really resent you-get-what-you-pay-for's comment. It is racist and ignorant at best. I have seen my share of affluent white people who use the toilet and not wash their hands. The norovirus is something that you can acquire from even the fanciest of restaurants. There is always a risk when eating out. The hotel has been repeatedly cited for their health violations and hopefully they will finally "clean up" their act. The responsibility lies with Crowne Plaza's management staff to enforce their sanitation policy. But don't blame the cultural backgrounds of the employees. Because if you do, then justify all the restaurants and dives that employ the same cultural groups, where millions of people have not gotten sick! You need to THINK before making bigoted accusations.


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Posted by Funny
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 6, 2008 at 8:26 pm

It is fun to see the sancti-mommies hard at work. You don't get to see this stuff everyday:

"Our personal hygiene as a nation is not as good as it used to be."

"Drinking out of cans in particular and bottles can also lead to the spread of bacteria, after all who knows where these cans and bottles have been stored before you drink from them."

"having snacks or pizza after sports games where the kids have no opportunity of cleaning up is another bad habit"

"When I was a team manager and setting up snack lists, I would remind the parents providing snacks to make sure THEIR hands were clean when they did the prep (for things like cut oranges, watermelon, sandwiches, etc.)." (Telling the PARENTS to wash their hands - I LOVE it!)


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