Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has asked her health minister for a full assessment of the recent E. coli outbreak in Calgary.
As of Tuesday there were over 264 confirmed cases related to the outbreak, which began in Calgary daycares. Of these cases, 25 of them have lead to hospitalization.
“My heart also goes out to the families of these little ones,” wrote Smith in a social media post. “Thank you to all the frontline workers who’ve been working tirelessly to treat and care for these children.”
This has lead to 11 Calgary daycares closing out of caution. Since the outbreak began, two of these daycares have reopened after getting the green light from Alberta Health Services (AHS).
Health inspectors who are investigating the outbreak say that the outbreak may have occured in a central kitchen used by several daycares in Calgary. Inspectors found five health violations, three of which were serious violations relating to pest control, sanitation, and food handling.
According to the health inspection report, over twenty dead cockroaches were found near the dishwashing area. Sanitizing liquid was also not being properly mixed, and cold foods were being transported without proper temperature control.
Inspectors also discovered a sewer smell in the kitchen, a pool of water due to a leak, and thermometer being stored in an unsanitary place.
This same kitchen had been inspected four times this year alone, with two violations found earlier this year. However, these violations were fixed and the kitchen had no violations as of the end of April.
Samples of food from this kitchen are being tested by AHS to determine where the infection began.
E. coli is a bacterium that can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. It usually takes about a week for symptoms to pass.