Norovirus outbreak closes VA Facility for the weekend

, Posted in Local, Health, Posted: Fri, March 7 2014 at 8:12 AM, Updated: Fri, March 7 2014 at 8:38 PM

White City, Ore. -- The largest veteran's facility in Southern Oregon will be closed at least through the weekend after a Norovirus outbreak sickened nearly 200 people, including veterans and staff.

Those who aren't sick with the nasty stomach illness spent the day cleaning.

From case worker to infection control, this is not an every day job for veteran vocational specialist Charlie Lewis.

Lewis is one of 75 staff members at the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Centers and Clinics trading their office wear for a plastic smock and a bottle of disinfectant.

The damage control coming one day after the veteran's facility announced an outbreak of Norovirus, a stomach sickness that's hit 125 veterans and 46 members of the v-a staff.

Lewis was down last week and said "for me, it was like a bit of a flu and I was better in about three days."

But Norovirus is so contagious that the VA is basically shutdown. They're asking patients to only come in for lab work or emergencies. They are also asking sick veterans to stay in their rooms.

Lewis says what they're not up to, he's willing to do. Because after all, taking care of veterans is his job whether it's by helping them get a job or helping them stay healthy.

A spokeswoman for the VA says their disinfecting is working. They have not had any new reports of Norovirus in the last 48-hours.

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