West Norton, Pa. (CBS) — Health officials have closed a Montgomery County restaurant while investigating a deadly hepatitis A outbreak. Gino’s Restaurant and Pizzeria on West Main Street in West Noriton is closed until further notice.
It is indeed a fluid situation with many questions remaining unanswered. CBS3 spoke to the brother and cousin of two of Gino’s current owners, who were deeply distraught about one aspect of the story — taking the coveted hit at their family’s restaurant.
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Giovanni Badalamenti’s father opened Gino’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant 50 years ago.
Today, his brothers and cousins run it, and on Friday afternoon, the Montgomery County Office of Public Health temporarily closed Gino’s doors as it continues to investigate the cause of the deadly hepatitis A outbreak in the county.
“There are a lot of things on social media, rumors are being spread. And those are rumours because the health board has been here several times in the last month to see if everything is okay and everything is right for them,” Badlamenti said.
He says the public health office has been here three times in the past week and found no problems.
On Monday, all the employees including his brother and cousin will be examined by the Public Health Office.
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“They want to make sure that everything, the things that are out there, they want to make sure that these people are okay. They are also concerned for the people who have gotten sick,” Badalmenti said.
Badalmenti said his brothers and cousins are upset about all this, but want their customers to know.
“I want them to know that this restaurant is not closing and these people work every day to help the community. They provide food to the community,” Badalmenti said.
At present, 11 cases are under investigation. Nine have been confirmed infected; Seven of them have been hospitalised, one person has died of the virus and the death of another is under investigation.
Some people infected with hepatitis A have no symptoms. If they do develop, it is usually between two and seven weeks, and some may remain ill for up to six months.
The source of the outbreak is being investigated and the gyno has been closed until the Montgomery County Office of Public Health, together with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, can determine where the outbreak began.
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CBS3’s Siafa Lewis and Alessia Reid contributed to this report.