County health department investigates food poisonings

The Kaua‘i office of the Department of Health launched an investigation this week into what caused food poisoning for dozens of people at the St. Catherine School Carnival in Kapa‘a on Saturday.

“It is under investigation,” said Lisa Gelling, an epidemiologist with DOH-Kaua‘i.

She said the investigation was initiated Monday and various sections of the department are looking into what happened.

Reports indicate that the source of the problem may have been a roast pork stand at the carnival.

“As more is known, we will be able to reveal more information,” she said.

Wilcox Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Lani Yukimura said the emergency room staff treated and released 23 people for food poisoning on Saturday.

No one was admitted overnight and, despite reports to the contrary, no one was turned away at the door, Yukimura said.

Yukimura stressed the Lihu‘e hospital’s ability to handle a large influx like this because of constant emergency drills.

“We practice different scenarios that could happen to a lot of people,” she said. “And because we practice a lot, we are very confident we could have handled more people than (what we saw Saturday).”

Kapa‘a’s Mahelona Medical Center spokeswoman Sandra McMaster said three people were treated with fluids and anti-nausea medication and released Saturday.

“No one was turned away, and no one was admitted,” McMaster said.

St. Catherine principal Carol West said the carnival has been held for more than 25 years.

“We’ve never had this problem before,” she said. “We want everyone to know that the parish and the parish’s insurance company is investigating the situation.”

• Cynthia Kaneshiro, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or ckaneshiro@kauaipubco.com

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