Lake Minnetonka businesses try to comfort customers after reports of illnesses

The number of people sick from a Lake Minnetonka 4th of July gathering is going up and now some businesses around the lake are fielding calls from people who want to cancel their plans.

The Hennepin County Health Department now says they’re looking into 116 cases, up from yesterday’s 30.

Beaches may close for a couple of days as they do every year and there the investigation into the illnesses at Big Island is ongoing, but Lake Minnetonka is hue and experts say those incidents are isolated and do not mean the lake as a whole is unsafe.

Still, businesses like the Paddletap are fielding dozens of calls.

“A lot of people have been calling trying to cancel their reservations worried they’re not going to be safe on the boat,” said Wells Brose, of the Paddletap.

Some have transferred lakes or simply cancelled their reservations.

“Some people are saying they’re not going to show up at all because they’re worried about their own health,” Brose said of the customers that are chosing to forfeit their money.

One marina said they’ve had six cancellations and a boat club is also fielding calls.

“She was like, ‘Should I cancel? I wanna go swimming.’ That was her big concern,” said Spencer Larson, of “She was like, ‘I don’t wanna go in the water if I’m gonna get sick.’”

The state health department said the Big Island incident and the beach closures don’t have an impact on the lake as a whole because of its size.

Experts say the solution to pollution is dilution and that’s exactly the case here.

Boaters in the area seem to understand that.

“We don’t tend to go near Big Island anyway, so it’s not a problem,” said Ellen Rock.

“I told her it’s a big lake, it’s kind of an isolated incident on Big Island,” said Larson of his exchange with a worried customer.

While Hennepin County is investigating about 114 cases, two people said they tested negative for both Norovirus and E. Coli, but there are a myriad of water-borne illnesses that it could be. The Health Department expects to get those results Friday.