YOLO COUNTY (CBS13) – The number of Norovirus cases have exploded over the weekend and officials are trying to decide how to combat the spread and may even have to shut down schools.
“We do get multiple phone calls, usually almost every day,” said Ann Brunson, a Woodland parent.
Parents have been put on notice and teachers said the schools have been cleaned top to bottom.
”They did a lot of sanitizing today, they evacuated four classrooms. Just being really careful to get on top of it,” said Rondi Drefs who is a speech therapist for the Woodland District.
But officials said the virus is spreading and it’s only getting worse with 3,200 reported student and faculty cases.
“It’s very,very strange,” said Schools Superintendent Jesse Ortiz.
In 35 years of public education, Ortiz said a Norovirus outbreak has never been this bad.
“There are some elementary districts ranging anywhere between 25 to 30 percent of the students being affected,” he said.
Norovirus is a gastrointestinal illness that spreads by touching contaminated surfaces and eating and drinking contaminated food. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Districts are doing their best to keep the virus out, but now may have to take drastic measures.
“With the end of the school year coming up, no one wants to close down a school, but we do need to discuss different aggressive measures,” said Kristin Weivoda, spokeswoman with Yolo County Health and Human Services.
The only way to stop the spread experts say is to keep your sick kids home.
“Even if it means missing something that’s very important, whether it’s track meet or whatever the case may be,” Ortiz said. “It’s critical because that’s how it spreads, it’s contagious.”
With graduation and year ending activities, Mr. Ortiz wants keep as many students as they can, healthy.
There is no official word on whether schools will shut down. Some schools have 2-3 weeks left.
Health experts say those who are infected need to stay home at least 48-hours after their symptoms have passed to no longer spread the virus.
Remember to wash your hands and not touch your face to help protect yourself.