Gardens at Calvary: Norovirus instances reduced

By Lindsey Connell - bio | e-mail | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  The results are in.

Columbus Health Department officials announced Tuesday what caused almost 20 residents at a local assisted living facility in Columbus to become sick.

"The cases were confirmed to be norovirus at the Gardens at Calvary," said Pamela Fair with the Columbus Health Department.

So what is norovirus? Commonly known as the "cruise ship virus" because of how fast it can spread in a clustered area, noroviruses cause the stomach flu.

It spreads quickly in food and drinks contaminated with the virus, direct contact with another infected person and contaminated surfaces.

Even though officials at the facility off Moon Road still won't say how many were infected, we're told the residents and staff members who came down with the virus are getting better.

"The number of incidences has reduced, has been going down. We have not had any new cases in the last 48 hours," said Don Wilhite, Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church.

Still the staff at the Gardens are taking precautions, limiting the number of outside visits and using sterilization practices.

Health officials say no one outside of the facility has been affected by the outbreak.

"It's not a huge concern. This was a cluster illness. It's easily transmitted from person to person but with good public health techniques like washing your hands, covering your cough, staying at home or in your room if you're sick, so that the virus doesn't continue to spread, it's contained, is the way you'd work with that," Fair explained.

She added, "The procedures that they took early on to catch this thing at the very beginning were very effective."

According to the Center for Disease Control, there is no vaccine to prevent norovirus nor can it be treated with drugs or antibiotics.

Those infected can be contagious for as long as two weeks after recovery.

Norovirus quick facts:

How do people become infected with noroviruses?
Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people. People can become infected with the virus in several ways, including:

  • eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus;
  • touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth;
  • having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms (for example, when caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill).

Norovirus Q&A
Norovirus Technical Fact Sheet
Norovirus and Foodhandlers
Norovirus in Healthcare Facilities