LOCAL NEWS

Recent Outbreaks Of Norovirus Reported In Utah Care Facilities

May 27, 2021, 7:38 PM | Updated: 9:50 pm

PROVO, Utah – Health departments in Utah and Salt Lake counties confirmed recent outbreaks of norovirus or a similar gastrointestinal illness in several long-term care facilities.

“We had some long-term care facilities that had large numbers,” said Jennifer Hatfield, an epidemiology investigator and nurse with the Utah County Health Department. “That’s the concern because it spreads so easily, it’s highly infectious, when it gets into a congregate setting it spreads fast.”

Hatfield said the Utah County outbreak of norovirus included five care facilities and occurred from late March through April. A total of 288 cases were reported. Four people had to be hospitalized and one person died.

Of those cases, 156 were residents of those facilities and 132 were employees—which raises the likelihood that the illness spread to the general population.

Hatfield said symptoms from norovirus typically only last about 24 hours but that it can be a very rough 24 hours.

“I call it the fast and furious GI illness,” Hatfield said, “and the reason I do is vomiting can come on suddenly no matter where you are and along with diarrhea—and for lack of better words the symptoms are pretty violent.”

In Salt Lake County, the health department reports that since March they’ve had three gastrointestinal illness clusters with norovirus-like symptoms at long-term care facilities. There were a total of 82 cases and two hospitalizations.

“Norovirus is kind of always looming,” said Dede Vilven, an epidemiologist with the Salt Lake County Health Department.

Overall, Vilven said Salt Lake County has seen an uptick in reports of gastrointestinal illnesses over the last month and that handwashing is key to stopping the spread.

Vilven said norovirus can be easily transferred through food and that those who prepare food or serve food should isolate themselves.

“Really pay attention to how you’re feeling,” Vilven said. “If you don’t feel good stay home.”

Norovirus is not a reportable disease, so labs and doctors don’t report cases to local health departments. Even so, Vilven encourages residents to report their symptoms through the state’s “I Got Sick” online reporting tool.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food and water can get contaminated with norovirus if an infected person has feces or vomit particles on them and touches the food or if the food is placed on a surface that has feces or vomit particles on it.

“Norovirus can easily contaminate food and water because it only takes a very small amount of virus particles to make you sick,” said the CDC’s website.

Also, the CDC said that drops of vomit from an infected person can travel in the air and land on food or surfaces.

Those who do become sick with vomiting or diarrhea should drink plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration.

“Watch for signs of dehydration in children who have norovirus illness. Children who are dehydrated may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy,” according to the CDC’s website. “If you think you or someone you are caring for is severely dehydrated, call your healthcare provider.”

“Because of the circumstances with elderly and infants there is the possibility that it could be fatal for them or hospitalize them,” Hatfield said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Shopping for Valentine’s roses? 9 comparisons to help you find the biggest bang for your buck

From online and local florist delivery options to grocery store blooms, KSL’s Matt Gephardt compares the cost and durability of nine different bouquets of a dozen red roses.
1 day ago
...
Ashley Moser

West Jordan mother in the ICU after being hit by snowmobile while tubing

A Utah mother is recovering in the ICU after she was hit by a snowmobile while tubing over the weekend.
1 day ago
Lauri Markkanen #23 of the Utah Jazz reacts to a basket against the Houston Rockets during the firs...
Kyle Ireland, KSL Sports

Ryan Smith, Utah Jazz honor Lauri Markkanen for NBA All-Star selection

Ryan Smith and the Utah Jazz honored Lauri Markkanen for his first NBA All-Star selection during Utah’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
1 day ago
...
Madison Swenson

Boy hospitalized after falling from slide at Rose Springs Elementary

n 8-year-old boy is in critical but stable condition after falling from a slide at Rose Springs Elementary School.
1 day ago
Utah State Prisoin...
Shara Park

Governor, lawmakers to address 3 inmate attacks on guards at Utah Prisons

The maximum-security unit at the Utah State Prison remained closed to visitors Monday after an inmate attacked a correctional officer on Saturday.
1 day ago
handcuffs...
Pat Reavy

Utah man accused of drugging woman’s tea, sexually extorting her

A Tooele County man who police say put a sleeping pill in a woman's tea without her knowledge and told her she could not stay at his residence unless she had sex with him, is facing criminal charges.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Recent Outbreaks Of Norovirus Reported In Utah Care Facilities