[Update, Dec. 11: The number of cases has grown to nearly 100 but is expected to peak today, according to reports from Santa Barbara County health officials. The Samarkand has implemented isolation policies where possible, and continues disinfection protocols.]
At least 65 residents and four staff members at The Samarkand, a retirement community in Santa Barbara, Calif., have been infected by norovirus, according to reports in the (Santa Barbara) Independent.
The clinical staff and administrators of the 400-resident community are enacting protocols to restrict the outbreak, including wearing protective clothing and disinfecting surfaces.
Norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus characterized by abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and fever, can spread quickly in senior living environments, notes the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health. The virus is communicable in several ways, including by consuming contaminated food or liquids, being in contact with infected stool or touching contaminated surfaces. Visitors, staff and residents can spread the virus to others without showing any symptoms.
Most people recover from norovirus within three days, but older adults or those with chronic conditions are at high risk for dehydration, notes the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has a resource page on preventing norovirus outbreaks.