WILLMAR (AP) -- Twelve people with high fevers and trouble breathing arrived at Rice Memorial Hospital, causing hospital officials to briefly quarantine the emergency room and declare a "code red."
The cause of the workers' condition is unknown. An epidemiologist from the state Health Department is investigating the incident.
All 12 are employees of VEIT Environmental, Inc., of Rogers and were working at the Southwest Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in Renville where their company is doing subcontract work, said Jack Behr, assistant administrator for operations and human resources at Rice.
"We don't know the nature of the accident or if there was an accident," Behr said. He said the workers' condition is not contagious.
Eleven of the workers were admitted for treatment Wednesday and were in stable condition. One was treated and released.
The workers were cleaning condenser tubes on Tuesday when they were exposed to something that made them sick, said Dave Sobaski, operations manager for VEIT.
The workers had been staying in the same hotel when their symptoms of headaches and fatigue worsened. When the sick workers began arriving Wednesday, Rice put its disaster plan, known as code red, into action. The plan is implemented when a large number of patients is expected.
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