Lake closed after more than 80 swimmers get sick

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PORT ORCHARD — At least 84 people got violently sick after swimming at Horseshoe Lake County Park this weekend. Now the park is closed until further notice.

Shay Davidson had to come to the boat ramp to get into Horseshoe Lake Monday afternoon, because the main entrance to the park was closed. He didn’t think too much about why.

“Last year they closed it during the week, so that didn’t worry me at all,” he said.

Katie Conner didn’t worry either, even though she saw the sign that said swimming wasn’t allowed.

“I just thought the no swimming sign was always there when the gate was closed,” she said

But the sign was put up Monday morning after the Kitsap Public Health District started getting complaints from people who had gone swimming in the lake between Thursday and Sunday.

“We have received calls from people who have experienced gastrointestinal symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps,” said Keith Grellner, the environmental health director for the Kitsap Public Health District.

The district checks water quality at local parks on a weekly basis.

“Our sample results as of last Thursday were good,” said Grellner. “It was OK to swim in at that time.”

They’re running tests to figure out what changed. But they want people to stay out of the lake until they’re sure it’s safe.

“There’s not much we can do once it’s in the lake, except let it biodegrade and let it get killed off naturally.”

Conner didn’t want to wait.

“It was too hot to stay home,” she said. “I think everyone might have had a barbecue and ate something, because we were here the other day and everything was fine. I haven’t been feeling sick at all.”

Davidson is also taking his chances.

“I definitely hesitated a little bit to get in, but I swam yesterday and I’m alright.”

Health officials say most people have come down with symptoms 12 to 24 hours after being in the water. If you got sick after visiting the park, the health department wants to hear from you. You can call them at 360-337-5623.

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