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By Louis Hoglund, Forum Communications Co., Published January 09 2010

Minnesota resort reopens after outbreak of illness

OTTERTAIL, Minn. – A central Minnesota resort that was forced to voluntarily close earlier this week because of an outbreak of illness has reopened.

An undetermined number of people became ill with what is believed to be a norovirus, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Most of those who became ill appear to have come into contact with the virus in the swimming pool-water park area of Thumper Pond Resort and Restaurant in Ottertail.

Flu-like symptoms were reported following New Year’s weekend, when there were large groups in the pool and water park almost constantly. A few illnesses reported earlier in December may also be linked.

Thumper Pond management temporarily shut down the resort Tuesday. It was reopened Friday.

The property underwent a deep cleaning based on exacting guidelines set by the Minnesota Department of Health, established to eradicate the virus.

The facility was closed for a thorough cleaning so the virus wouldn’t spread, said Bill Schultz, vice president of Thumper Pond’s management company, Madison Hospitality Group. “The Minnesota Department of Health has been very supportive.”

Because the investigation is ongoing, the number of cases involved is not available. The state Department of Health has received a number of complaints of norovirus-like illnesses linked to the facility, from Dec. 19 through New Year’s Eve, said agency spokesman Doug Schultz.


Lou Hoglund is a reporter at the East Ottertail Focus in Perham and New York Mills, Minn., which is owned by Forum Communications Co.