Education

Norovirus races through Yolo, forcing school programs to close in Davis

Have you ever heard of norovirus?

This short video explains what norovirus is, how it is spread, groups that are at high risk for severe disease and how you can protect yourself and loved ones from getting it. Seniors and young children are vulnerable.
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This short video explains what norovirus is, how it is spread, groups that are at high risk for severe disease and how you can protect yourself and loved ones from getting it. Seniors and young children are vulnerable.

A preschool and adult living skills program in Davis will be closed Friday as Yolo County continues to battle the rapid spread of norovirus, an illness that triggers vomiting and diarrhea, officials said Thursday.

The move to close preschool and adult programs on the Valley Oak campus in Davis follows an announcement on Wednesday that Dingle Elementary and Tafoya Elementary Schools in Woodland also will close Friday to reduce the spread of the gastrointestinal malady.

Countywide, schools in midweek reported 3,374 students had become ill with suspected norovirus since the start of this month. In addition, Sacramento County health officials have reported dozens of schools affected by spread of the virus.

Maria Clayton, spokeswoman for the Davis Joint Unified School District, said Thursday that custodial teams are increasing already intensive efforts to deep clean all affected sites.

“Despite our efforts to deep clean the Valley Oak Preschools, we continue to see cases at the site,” she wrote. She said more than 40 percent of the staff and students at Valley Oak’s preschool programs have reported symptoms in the last three weeks. The closure, she said, was made in consultation with the Health Department. Both programs will reopen on Tuesday, after Memorial Day.

Noroviruses are the most common cause of acute stomach and intestinal infections in the United States and are highly contagious. They can be transmitted by infected people, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Symptoms include diarrhea, cramps and vomiting, and normally last one to three days.

Health officers in both Sacramento and Yolo County have advised parents to keep children away from schools for up to 48 hours after symptoms cease and to use proper hygiene, especially washing hands with soap, to help end the virus’ spread.

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