California GOP officials bring unpleasant surprise to convention: Norovirus

California delegates cheer as they take part in the roll call in support of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Brian van der Brug | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

California delegates to the Republican National Convention who are staying at the safari-themed Kalihari Resort indoor water park were given a bit of bad news to chew on as they finished breakfast Tuesday.

Cynthia Bryant, executive director of the California Republican Party, told the delegation that at least six party staffers are incapacitated with norovirus, a highly contagious digestive illness.

Among those who are sick: Kaitlyn MacGregor, California GOP communications director.

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Bryant said the local health department confirmed it's norovirus but said the staffers brought it from California. She urged delegates to wash their hands frequently and be mindful of the onset of symptoms.

The delegation is staying in Sandusky some 60 miles west of Cleveland, where the GOP convention continues through Thursday.

Peter Schade with the Erie County, Ohio, Health Department said the staffers arrived mid-afternoon last Thursday and reported feeling "queasy" by that evening, suggesting they brought the virus with them rather than picking it up at the resort. Samples have been sent to a lab in Columbus for confirmation it is norovirus, but it is definitely "a noro-like illness," he said.

He commended the California Republican Party and the resort for containing the spread of the highly contagious illness by isolating the 11 victims and handling their sanitary needs employing previous training. There is no treatment but rest and fluids.

The Kalihari is a massive indoor water park with a safari theme and statues of lions, gorillas and giraffes dotting the corridors. Screaming, laughing children run rampant and dip into exotic pools with waterfalls. Isolated, the staffers are no threat to other guests, Schade said.

"Because they're sick, they're not going to go out and hang out at the pool and hob-nob with people," Schade said. "They don't feel good."