The Mecklenburg County Health Department has confirmed multiple, recent cases of norovirus at Willow Grove Retirement Community in Matthews and at Charlotte Health Care, a nursing and rehab center in northwest Charlotte.
Eyewitness News was told 15 residents and six staff members caught the stomach bug at Willow Grove, while 30 residents and six staff members got sick at Charlotte Health Care.
"It's highly, highly infectious, so it's easily spread in confined areas from one person to another," said Mecklenburg County Health Director Dr. Wynn Mabry.
It causes a few days of nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea.
As its cases grew, Willow Grove shut down the coffee bar and food stations, and served meals to residents in their individual apartments instead of in the dining room as a precaution.
A spokesperson for Willow Grove said they planned to resume serving in the dining room and continue group activities Friday, which will be when the last case has been symptom free for 48 hours.
An administrator at Charlotte Health told Channel 9 the virus surfaced in one of its units and came from an outside visitor. After that, they limited visitors but provided updates to residents and their families.
The daughter of a woman staying at Charlotte Health sent Channel 9 a Facebook message saying she was unable to visit her mother because of the virus.
She wrote, "Not being able to see my mom is scary even though they say she is OK."
Mabry said limiting contact with an infected person is a key line of defense.
"Keep them isolated in the rooms, limit visitors. Hand washing is a real key for preventing," he said.
While norovirus cases do not have to be reported to the county, many facilities do reach out to the health department for advice on how to stop it.
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