Mountaineer Park in Newell, W. Va., has closed its grandstand and clubhouse and cancelled live racing through Nov. 7 after a number of employees became seriously ill.
Management notified employees and the public on Saturday, Oct. 27, that the next night's live racing and subsequent programs through Nov. 7 would be suspended “while working on some improvements at our racetrack.”
The statement said Mountaineer Park's casino, hotel and restaurants – located on the opposite side of the racetrack from the grandstand/clubhouse – would remain open as usual. Mountaineer Park's live race meeting – which runs four nights per week on a Sunday through Wednesday basis – is scheduled to continue through Nov. 28.
The track remains open for training and the shutdown does not affect the stable area.
Jackie Huff, administrator for the Hancock County Health Department, said her agency has received “many, many” calls about sick employees. “I have no confirmations at this point,” Huff said. “It's an ongoing investigation.”
A disease investigation, Huff said, involves getting “lab reports from facilities with confirmed diagnoses and finding out if there are any commonalities. We are in the process of doing that now.”
Huff said the suspension of live racing and closing of the clubhouse/grandstand to the public was voluntary and not ordered by her agency.
According to sources, heating and air conditioning specialists have been brought in to clean the HVAC ducts throughout the building.
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