Health care facilities are open for business again this morning in west central Wisconsin, after a virus scare. Patients at Bloomer Medical Center and residents at the attached Maplewood nursing home are improving, after a norovirus infection outbreak pretty much brought business to a halt and sickened around 90 people. And, as of this morning, the Bloomer hospital is open. "They will be doing business as usual and accepting new admissions."
Jean Durch, Director of the Chippewa County Public Health Department, says there wasn't an official quarantine, but strong advisories to which the health care facilities eagerly complied. …Advisories such as meticulous hand washing and the suspension of visitors and group activities that could spread germs.
Durch says her department has gotten alerts from Minnesota, as well as our state health department and the Marshfield Clinic, which was seeing an increase in requests for testing for gastrointestinal symptoms.
Durch says the very contagious and common norovirus infection causes gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. People usually recover from it on their own after a couple days of symptoms. She says we've all likely had this norovirus, but were mistakenly calling it something else, like the flu.
Over the past weekend, 22 nursing home residents and seven hospital patients were treated and about 60 staff members reported symptoms.