SPOKANE, Wash. – At least 40 people at the House of Charity were in quarantine Saturday morning due to a norovirus.
House of Charity leaders said staff and client are isolated to one part of the building to keep others from getting sick. Medical staff are on hand to help the patients.
Shelter leaders said more than 200 people stayed there Friday night and believe that many people staying in one place may have been a factor.
The Spokane Fire Department said the norovirus is a common, non-life threatening virus. Symptoms of the virus include, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, fever, headaches and body aches.
“If people are sick they need to stay away from the rest of the population and get plenty of rest,” said Dr. Sam Artzis, Spokane Regional Health District interim Health Officer. “We are urging those who visited the House of Charity within the past two days and are showing symptoms to return to rest,” he added.
The Spokane Regional Health District is working with the shelter. Health officials said the illness is not uncommon and is most likely non-life-threatening. They said it could be dangerous to people who already have health issues.
Staff said a professional cleaning company has been called in to clean the shelter. They said police, fire and the Red Cross are on hand and the situation is under control. Fire crews have closed off the section of street in front of the shelter while it is being cleaned. They have put out porta pottys and hand washing stations in front of the building.
The Spokane Fire Department is evaluating guests who are showing similar symptoms at the Union Gospel Mission. Arrangements are being made to keep overnight guests away from sick guests.