40 residents, employees at Honolulu senior facility fall ill; officials suspect norovirus

Updated: Mar. 28, 2019 at 5:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At least 40 residents and employees at a Honolulu senior facility are exhibiting symptoms of norovirus, which is highly contagious and can mimic food poisoning.

The Health Department said there have already been two confirmed cases of norovirus at the development on Kalakaua Avenue.

The first confirmed case of norovirus was reported on Saturday, while the second was reported two days later.

Since then, dozens more have fallen ill.

In a statement, the facility said that it’s following established safety protocols and working closely with the Health Department to determine next steps.

Health officials said the kitchen at the facility will undergo a floor-to-ceiling cleaning before it’s inspected and can reopen.

“In line with Health Department guidelines, Kalakaua Gardens has taken a number of actions and deployed our own safety protocols to stop the norovirus. We have encouraged affected residents to remain in their apartments for 48 hours until after their symptoms subside. We also recommend guests refrain from visiting until further notice,” said Thomas Eustace, director of sales and marketing at the facility.

“We also temporarily suspended transportation services and, as part of our standard procedures, we have temporarily closed our kitchen as a precaution. We have also suspended communal dining, while continuing to ensure the dietary needs and preferences of our residents are met in their own apartments.”

Symptoms of norovirus illness include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

The illness begins suddenly, and symptoms usually last about one to days.

Norovirus is found in the stool or vomit of an infected person, and people can get sick by eating or drinking contaminated food.

This story will be updated.

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