NOVATO (CBS SF) — A norovirus outbreak at a Novato nursing home is waning and Marin County public health officials expect it to reopen to visitors Wednesday night.

Eighty-one cases of the gastrointestinal illness, 65 residents and 16 staff members, were reported at the Country Villa Novato Healthcare Center since Nov. 10, said Shanna Cronan, senior public health nurse with the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control program in the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services.

Visitors and admissions to the facility at 1565 Hill Road were prohibited since Nov. 15, Cronan said.

Group activities were canceled, staff members were assigned to the same patients and to use masks if patients were vomiting, Cronan said.

“We recommended strict environmental cleaning of all commonly-touched surfaces,” she said.

“We’ve seen a lot less cases this week and hope to reopen it Wednesday night,” Cronan said.

The facility is licensed for 181 beds and there were 172 residents when the outbreak occurred, Cronan said.

The illness that also can include abdominal cramps, low fever and diarrhea typically lasts 24 to 48 hours, Cronan said.

Another facility in Marin County also reported a few cases of the norovirus that is now well contained, Cronan said.

Darron Treude, the healthcare center’s administrator, said the facility was never under quarantine. He said the first case was reported Nov. 8 and the public health department was notified immediately.

He estimated 30 percent of the residents had the norovirus.

“We are restricting visitors to ensure the best interests of our residents,” Treude said Tuesday.

“We hope we can lift the restrictions by Thanksgiving,” he said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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