St. John’s Living Center is currently closed to visitors as a safety precaution following indications that norovirus may be present.
Norovirus is often called food poisoning, the stomach flu or the stomach bug. It is not related to the flu, which is caused by the influenza virus. Noroviruses are the leading cause of food-borne illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The most common symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain.
St. John’s Chief Communication Officer Karen Connelly said she learned that several residents have symptoms indicative of norovirus at Thursday’s daily briefing. The center is proceeding as if there is an outbreak — defined as two or more cases.
Traffic is limited to essential personnel, no family and friends, to try to prevent the virus from spreading. Norovirus spreads easily, and people can contract it from having direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water, or touching contaminated surfaces and then putting unwashed hands in their mouths, according to the CDC.
“People with norovirus illness can shed billions of norovirus particles,” the CDC states. “And only a few virus particles can make other people sick.”