Norovirus sends hospital staff members home to bed
May 2, 2005
Last weekend, about 14 Carson-Tahoe Hospital employees called in sick with the norovirus.
The highly contagious stomach ailment has sickened countless Carson City residents and sent home up to 15 percent of the hospital’s staff in the past two weeks, its infection control specialist said Monday.
Doris Dimmitt, C-TH infection-control specialist, estimated 150 to 200 of the hospital’s 1,100 employees were ill with the virus. Although not serious, norovirus causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever for one to three days.
“It’s out in the community, and I think most are catching it in the community,” she said. “We are sending staff home, and they have to go home and stay home 48 hours after the symptoms are gone. We’re having them stay out that long. We’re just trying to keep it from taking root in the hospital.”
Dustin Boothe of the Carson City Environmental Health Department said those with the virus should wait at least 48 hours after the symptoms stop before going back out into the community.
Local doctors encourage those with norovirus symptoms to stay home and recover – don’t spread it around. Most hand sanitizers do not kill the virus. Dimmitt said the hospital recently started using Germ Star, a sanitizer that is only available to medical care centers, and it works against norovirus.
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The virus is transmitted through touch and is hearty. The most effective way to prevent its spread is frequent and vigorous handwashing. Use soap and warm water and dry hands with disposable towels.
Carson Rehabilitation Center, an inpatient facility of Carson-Tahoe Hospital, started taking patients again on Thursday. The Carson City Health Department reported a serious outbreak of the virus at the center on April 23. Call the hospital hotline at 885-4569 with questions.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.