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Suspected food poisoning outbreak at Tucson hotel leaves 6 hospitalized

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Posted at 11:37 AM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 13:37:29-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Dozens of Afghan refugees who recently arrived at a Tucson motel were treated for suspected food poisoning Monday.

Pima County Health Director Doctor Theresa Cullen says 56 refugees at the Red Roof Inn at 1300 N. Stone Ave. were treated on site, and six were hospitalized.

Everyone affected was recovering Tuesday.

A Pima County Health Department spokesman called the incident a "gastrointestinal outbreak" and confirmed the sickness was not COVID-19. Doctor Cullen says Health Department investigators will be at the motel Tuesday. She says a food-borne illness is the leading theory but is not confirmed yet.

Red Roof Inn released this statement:

"Yesterday, a group with the International Rescue Committee [], as part of their work supporting Afghan refugees finding housing, had a lunch catered at the hotel and several people became ill. The Pima County Health Department responded, and hotel management closed the lobby out of an abundance of caution, but the hotel and other guests were not evacuated or affected. As of today, we have been told that all those affected are fine and doing well. We are glad to know that all are well, and we are appreciative of the Pima County Health Department and first responders for their timely response and support. We will continue to fully cooperate with any investigation the Pima County Health Department deems necessary”.