The Oregonian has begun rebuilding its staff—it welcomed three new reporters in the past couple of weeks—and newsroom morale after years of buyouts.
But one feel-good initiative, a May 31 cake-and-coffee gathering to recognize outstanding staff performance, went awry.
The Multnomah County Health Department is now investigating a potential norovirus outbreak after at least 14 people came down with stomach pain and severe diarrhea after the event.
The county sent samples of the cake to a laboratory for testing, according to health department spokeswoman Julie Sullivan-Springhetti. "One person did test positive to norovirus," Sullivan-Springhetti says, referring to the stomach-flu-like ailment sometimes called "cruise-ship disease."
As The Oregonian has reported, norovirus and other food-borne disorders are increasingly common.
"It was definitely unfortunate," Oregonian Editor Mark Katches says in an email. "But it won't stop us from doing these types of celebrations in the future."