By DAN DEARTH
PUT-IN-BAY — The Ohio Department of Health has scheduled a Tuesday press conference to release the “preliminary-investigational report” disclosing what caused about 1,500 people to contract gastrointestinal illness last summer on South Bass Island.
Officials from the ODH, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ottawa County Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be on hand to release their findings and answer questions from noon to 2 p.m. at Put-in-Bay Village Hall.
Ottawa County Commissioner Carl Koebel said it is about time the state decided to inform the public.
“I thought they would have come up with a report sooner than they did,” Koebel said. “They had to wait for all their samples to come back.”
ODH spokesman Jay Carey said the state has acted in a timely manner and knew from the onset the cause was more than likely a contamination of water drawn from wells on the island.
“I don’t think it’s an appropriate criticism,” Carey said. “We knew what was going on when this started.”
Test results from stool and vomit samples taken from 15 people showed three types of infections: campylobacter, salmonella and norovirus. And OEPA tests produced traces of E coli bacteria in some of the wells.
Carey said according to the Ohio Revised Code, the state is required to inform the public six months after the start of an investigation like the one on Put-in-Bay. In this case, that was Aug. 26.
In addition to revealing the cause of the contamination, Carey said health officials plan to discuss measures people can take to prevent further illness.
The meeting is open to the public.