Norovirus is a nasty virus which is highly contagious and presents gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea. Avamere nursing homes in Oregon have instituted strict protocols for when Norovirus threatens to rear its head in their facilities. To protect residents, Avamere staff keeps residents in their rooms as much as possible, adds to their regular uniform gowns, masks, and gloves, and wipes down all rooms with an intense disinfectant. Avamere has facilities located in Portland, Keizer, and Medord which all implement this policy. Their response to keep the virus at bay seems to be working. While the home in Portland had two small outbreaks earlier this year, both were quickly contained thanks to the home’s policy. The other two homes in Keizer and Medford haven’t had outbreaks since 2008.
The prevalence of Norovirus in other homes shows the success of Avamere’s technique. Dallas Retirement Village, Medford Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Maryville Nursing Home, and Providence Benedictine Nursing Center have had eight outbreaks of the virus since 2002, ‘the highest number in the state.
One way that Norovirus spreads is through outside contact, more precisely, when visitors come to see residents. This is one of the reasons why Norovirus keeps bothering homes year after year. The Oregon Department of Human Services nursing home division is publishing the data for Norovirus statistics and will be updating them quarterly, in an effort to decrease Norovirus rates and make families more aware of their facility’s rating. See article at Oregon Live.