YOLO COUNTY (CBS 13) — Parents in Yolo County are high alert as norovirus continues to spread across the region. Nearly 1,000 students and teachers have contracted the virus in less than two weeks.
“It’s kind of alarming that it’s spreading so quickly,” said Courtney Adams, a mother of one in Woodland. “I’m hoping people will pay more attention to the hand washing until we can get it under control.”
“There have been a few kids that we know that are sick but mine have been pretty healthy and we’ve been washing hands really religiously,” said Kim Stephens, who has two kids in Woodland schools.
Stephens knows first-hand how vicious the norovirus can be after her youngest son caught the virus four years ago.
“He was pretty sick,” she said. “We had to take him to the ER because he was dehydrated and had to have an IV for hydration treatment.”
Norovirus is a gastrointestinal illness that spreads by touching contaminated surfaces and eating and drinking contaminated food. Symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. It’s the same virus that hit a cruise ship back 2014 and caused 600 people to get sick.
“Over this week, we’ve been watching our numbers grow,” said Kristin Weivoda, a spokesperson for Yolo County Health Services.
She told CBS 13 the virus spreads easily in small spaces like offices and schools.
“If you have the symptoms, you need to stay home,” Weivoda said. “Then once you’re feeling better, you’re still highly contagious for another 1 to 2 days.”
A total of 952 cases have been reported in Yolo County so far in 5 different school districts:
- Woodland Joint Unified School District: 434
- Washington Unified School District: 217
- Davis Joint Unified School District: 181
- Esparto Unified School District: 49
- Winters Joint Unified School District: 39
Thirty-two cases have also been reported at UC Davis. A spokesperson at Washington Unified says the virus has now reached all of their schools in West Sacramento.
“It concerns me going to grocery stores or Target or anywhere where people are constantly touching different things,” Adams said.
Weivoda says the county has been working with school nurses on how to look out for symptoms.
“Really all they can do is recognize when someone is sick and get them home and then clean as soon as possible,” she said.
And now, the pressure is on parents to make sure their children are staying clean to stop the virus from spreading.
“Really keep them quarantined for the whole duration,” Stephens said.
Some tips for parents include cleaning surfaces with bleach, washing hands with soap and water because it’s more effective than hand sanitizer, and telling the school if your child is sick.