WAYZATA — Health officials say more than 100 people have reported getting sick after spending time near Lake Minnetonka's Big Island over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Hennepin County Public Health said Wednesday it is continuing to investigate recent reports of illness associated with the popular party spot on the lake.
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, officials had returned 140 phone calls from people who said they were in the area over the weekend and reported being sick, Public Health said in a news release.
Of those calls, 116 met the "case definition," meaning they were at Big Island over the holiday weekend and "have since exhibited symptoms of vomiting and/or multiple episodes of diarrhea."
The number of people who have gotten sick has grown since Tuesday, when Hennepin County Dave Johnson told Lakeshore Weekly News the county was investigating more than 30 calls of people reporting they got sick.
The first call from someone reporting the sickness came in the morning of Monday, July 8, Johnson said during a news conference on Tuesday, July 9.
The symptoms have been seen in people of all ages who were boating on Lake Minnetonka over the Fourth of July weekend, with Johnson noting many were young adults.
At least one person has posted in the Lake Minnetonka Fan Club Facebook group saying her son and “several of his friends have been sick” since swimming near Big Island on July 4, noting their symptoms include “vomiting, fever, etc.”
“These symptoms are all consistent with illness spread via water,” Johnson told Lakeshore Weekly News on Tuesday.
Hennepin County Public Health has collected stool samples from those who reported feeling sick, but at this point officials don't know what is causing the illness. Officials are hoping to determine that by the end of the week, Johnson said.
Health officials plan to provide another update after the Minnesota Department of Health releases confirmatory lab results, the news release said.
Excelsior beaches closed
The county has tested several bays on Lake Minnetonka and will post results of those tests at hennepin.us/beaches.
The city of Excelsior said Tuesday, July 9, that weekly testing for E-coli found levels above the recommended water quality standards, so all the beaches in the city are closed. The beaches will reopen when water quality improves. The alert from the city did not mention Public Health’s investigation.
As of Thursday at 9:50 a.m., Excelsior's beaches were still closed, but no other Lake Minnetonka beaches were marked closed on the county's website.