Multiple people hospitalized following salmonella outbreak

·3 min read

Nine hospitalizations are now being reported after a salmonella outbreak at the Barakat restaurant in Sarnia.

They were confirmed by Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade on Thursday. Ranade added that there are now 33 positive cases of salmonella poisoning overall. The affected range in age from nine months old to 73 years.

Ranade says both the number of people infected and their age ranges are “significant.” He says public health is “still working to identify what the source of that outbreak was. We have some lab samples and tests that we’re still waiting on.”

Ranade says customers who ate at the Lambton Mall Rd. restaurant and at a food truck Barakat operates in Corunna have both contracted salmonella. Both these locations have closed voluntarily.

Ranade says he doesn’t expect any orders to be issued against Barakat for the incident. “At the time that we can… ensure ourselves that there’s no more ongoing risk than we’ll be working with the premises toward reopening. They’ve been very good to work with in this case,” says Ranade.

A further 170 people have reported symptoms that could indicate salmonella. The outbreak took place between Oct. 19-29, but Ranade says 90 per cent of these cases occurred between Oct. 21-25.

Anyone who ate at either location during these dates and experiences symptoms of salmonella – which include diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps and vomiting – are asked to contact public health, and advised to contact their health care provider.

Ranade also spoke to the new provincial guidelines released on Tuesday that will determine future COVID-19 shutdown measures. The categories – moving from least to most serious – are Prevent, Protect, Restrict, and Control.

Lambton is currently in the Prevent stage, also known as the Green zone. This means a county has less than 10 COVID cases per 100,000 people. It allows for the least amount of restrictions on businesses and gatherings. Ranade says he is not sure exactly how the new guidelines will play out, but is happy to have a specific set of rules people can look at.

“That’s the biggest step, that they’re out and they’re public and we can talk about them,” Ranade says of the new guidelines. “I think experience is going to tell us whether the indicators are at the right threshold or not, so it’s really too early to say.”

Ranade also spoke to whether these guidelines could have made shutdowns in Lambton less strict during the summer. He says it’s hard to compare responses made earlier in the pandemic to those made now.

“The parameters that we might have established in the first wave might have been very different because I don’t think anyone was in the mindset at that time of let’s figure out how to live with this… They were like let’s contain it and get rid of it,” says Ranade.

“So the indicators that you used at that time might have been slightly different. The goals of what we’re trying to do now are different than the goals that we had then.”

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent