Lake Sammamish beach closed due to possible outbreak
by: Gary Horcher
A popular swimming beach in Lake Sammamish State Park has been shut down by King County health officials after more than a dozen children became violently ill a day after they swam there.
Officials say the symptoms suggest exposure to norovirus, but the water is being tested to find out what, if anything, could be making people sick.
Public Health agents put up nearly a dozen paper signs saying “No Swimming, No Wading,” at about 5 p.m. Monday.
Within an hour, some swimmers and waders splashed right past the warning signs.
“We actually didn’t even see those signs,” said swimmer Torin Dye, who pointed out the small size of the signs, which were taped to orange cones near the water.
King County Public Health officials received reports of 15 children showing symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, a day after swimming at Tibbets Beach in Lake Sammamish State Park on August 26.
“We are in the very earliest stages of investigating this possible outbreak, and do not yet know specifically what type of organism caused the illness,” said public health spokesman James Apa, in a written statement.
“Symptoms occurred within 24 hours of the Friday beach visit. At this point in the investigation, we have no reports of hospitalizations or ongoing illnesses. Norovirus is suspected, based on the symptoms, the time between exposure and symptoms developing, and the length of the illness, though we are looking into other potential causes based on the reported symptoms,” Apa said.
“Seeing those signs was kind of nerve wracking,” said paddle boarder Daliah Slutsky. “I didn’t want to get sick or anything, because school’s starting soon, and I didn’t want to miss those first few days,” she said.
King County Public Health officials said the beach will be closed indefinitely.