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Norovirus Outbreak

An illness is spreading through some of the shelters in Butte County.

Posted: Nov 15, 2018 5:50 PM

CHICO, Calid. - An illness is spreading through some of the shelters in Butte County.

Lisa Almaguer, PIO with Butte County Public Health, said lab tests have confirmed that evacuees in the Neighborhood Church in Chico have symptoms of the norovirus.

"That is the only shelter that we have lab confirmation, like I mentioned we have illness in some of the other shelters, we are treating those just the same as we would if we had confirmation," Almaguer said.

Almaguer said they've implemented preventative measures to keep the spread of illness contained.

"We have separated the ill people from the well people they're in a separate location at the shelter they have access to their own restroom facilities and they're being cared for by public health nurses," Almaguer said.

Norovirus is very common this time of year, Almaguer said it was circulating in the community before the campfire started.

"This was not initiated by the shelter situation it was already in our community, norovirus is highly contagious from person to person the virus can live on surfaces it can be on foods and fruits and vegetables and so washing your hands it the best way to prevent spreading norovirus also avoiding contact with people who have norovirus and also making sure your surfaces are clean and wiped down," Almaguer said.

At the neighborhood church in chico, there are 179 evacuees and 21 of those are sick.

"That is a very fluctuating number as you can imagine some people will be starting to feel better some people may start to feel ill and that number is going to change probably by the end of the day," Almaguer said.

Action News Now spoke with an American Red Cross volunteer at the Neighborhood Church who says they're very mindful of keeping the areas clean.

"What the red cross is doing is cleaning the entire dormitory areas, the entire shelter areas several times a day, wiping down surfaces that are being touched beyond that we have brought in a bio hazard cleaning company that goes through here twice a day going top to bottom cleaning with their specialized equipment and materials, we are encouraging everybody both here and the general public to wash your hands," Carl Manning, volunteer said.

Illness has spread to other shelters as well, including the Oroville Nazarene Church (10 ill), Butte County Fairgrounds (9 ill) and the East Avenue Church (1 ill).

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A significant weather system will impact our area beginning late tonight, lasting through the day on Monday. This includes a large amount of snow for the mountains, with rain and wind for the valley and foothills. A steady rain will begin to move into our area around 1am Sunday.
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