Health District confirms norovirus outbreak at Spokane House of - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Health District confirms norovirus outbreak at Spokane House of Charity

Posted: Updated:
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Update: In a press conference update, Rob McCann with Catholic Charities, Mayor David Condon and Brian Schaeffer with the Spokane Fire Department held a joint press conference outside House of Charities to discuss a viral outbreak at the House of Charity in downtown Spokane. They say the virus shows symptoms similar to the norovirus, which includes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Tests are being run to confirm a diagnosis.

McCann says the House of Charity will remain open Saturday night and accept new patrons, but mobile tents and bathrooms will be set up to help keep people who are well separated from those who are showing symptoms of the virus. 

Several agencies are involved and the House of Charity is working to continually sterilize the building.

McCann says about 200 men and women stayed at House of Charity overnight Friday and about 30 to 40 people are sick Saturday, including members of the staff.

McCann says the building will remain under quarantine for another day, but House of Charity will still allow people to come to the shelter.

The virus is not life-threatening and best prevented by thorough and regular hand washing. It usually lasts between 24 and 48 hours.

“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.”

Union Gospel Mission also reported being under a formal quarantine Saturday evening after a few guests started showing similar symptoms.

Previous coverage:

Spokane's Regional Health District reports a quarantine is in place for a viral outbreak at the shelter.

Kim Papich  with the Health District says the virus is presenting like norovirus, but it has not yet been confirmed whether that's what it is. She says it's not unusual to have viral outbreaks at the shelter this time of year. Several involved agencies are working with staff to set up temporary housing for an influx of people expected to check in at the shelter around 4 p.m. They don't want more people in the House of Charity as a precaution against the virus.

Right now 25 cases of the virus have been confirmed at House of Charity, including some of the staff. The virus lasts for 24-48 hours and is not life threatening.

This is a developing story and we will pass more information along to you as soon as we know more.

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