51 people fall ill with norovirus at elderly facility

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Retirement community officials say 51 people who became ill at the Fredericka Manor in Chula Vista contracted the norovirus.

Craig Sumner, executive director of the elderly living facility, confirmed Tuesday since March 18, 40 residents and 11 staff members contracted the illness, some were hospitalized and have fully recovered. Nurses at the care facility at 183 3rd Avenue are wearing masks for their own protection.

Norovirus is a gastrointestinal infection that cause diarrhea and vomiting and is highly contagious.  It can spread after contact with an infected person or contaminated food or water.

The virus can live on door handles and railings for hours after it`s been touched. Doctors say frequent hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus.

Staff at the retirement community have since implemented several procedures to prevent the spread of the virus, including closure of the dining rooms and meeting halls in order to disinfect the common areas.  Residents have also been told of the signs and symptoms of the virus and practices to prevent the spread of the illness, according to the Centers of Disease Control.

“They have been giving us boxed lunches and keeping us well informed,” said Maryann Grant, a resident at Fredericka Manor. “It’s always scary when someone is hospitalized at my age, but they are doing a good job here.”

If no new cases are reported as of Thursday, April 2, Sumner said the safety precautions will be relaxed on Friday.

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