Outbreak of norovirus spreads through assisted living center

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - An outbreak of the norovirus illness is spreading throughout a local assisted living center.

We've been reporting on this for the past couple of weeks.

There's currently 118 residents on the assisted living center's census. The Hamilton County Public Health Department says Atria Northgate Park has seen roughly 63 cases of norovirus. The outbreak not only includes residents, but also a few employees.

"When we start seeing this, we like to tell people to isolate the sick," said Mike Samet.

The health department says the most recent case was on Tuesday. Before that, two cases required hospitalizations.

"People with compromised immune systems can get into a lot of trouble with norovirus. It's very dehydrating. You lose a lot of body fluid and if you got other things going on or if you're very young, very old you can get in trouble quickly," said Samet.

Symptoms for the disease usually include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea with most people improving in one to two days.

According to the CDC, norovirus is the leading cause of illness from contaminated food in the United States. Nursing homes also far outweigh other settings where this virus is commonly found.

"Eating together, doing recreational activities, playing Bingo - all the things that go on in a nursing home. People are close to one another," said Samet.

Atria Northgate Park representatives released a statement:

"In an effort to make sure we return everyone to good health, we are still encouraging residents to stay in their apartments, and we are continuing to deliver meals to apartments at this time."

The health department stresses these are the proper steps to help prevent the spread of future illnesses.

"We like to keep them away from one another, so we certainly urge a lot of hand washing and a lot of disinfections at the facility," said Samet.

Representatives from the assisted living center say communal dining and all activities remain suspended.

The facility is also discouraging visitors to prevent the spread of any more illness. Atria Northgate Park officials say they hope to be able to lift all of the restrictions by the weekend.

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