DHHS Reports Norovirus Cases in NE; Care Center Shows How it Keeps Residents Safe

OMAHA(KPTM)-Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is warning the Norovirus is back. The potentially deadly illness has been reported in nursing homes statewide over the past few weeks. Maple-Crest Care Center of Benson hasn't seen any cases of Norovirus at it's facility. Nurses credit proper immunizations and cleanliness as key factors in keeping residents safe.

For nurse and infectious disease specialist, Sandra Morse, quality control is about more than making residents of Maple-Crest Care Center comfortable. It's about keeping them safe from diseases that can spread quickly in close quarters. "Long-term care and Norovirus kind of go together," said Morse who adds that the place where she works is proof that you can keep the virus out.

Morse says about 95-percent of Maple-Crest Care Center's staff and guests got immunized for the flu back in October. "It was very exciting for me as an infection control preventionist that out of those 169 employees they all came forward and they all wanted the flu shot," said Morse.

Morse acknowledges that the Norovirus is highly contagious and can be spread when an infected person comes in contact with a lot of things we touch everyday. She recommends wiping down surfaces from elevator buttons to the spigot you use at the watercooler with a solution, preferably one that contains bleach.

Proper hand washing is also something Morse says can't be overestimated. "Our staff, I'm just really vigilant about having them wash for 25 seconds,"said Morse who also says hand sanitizers are a great way to disinfect on the run.

And if you're sick, Morse says you can do a lot of good simply by staying home especially if you were planning a visit to a long-term care center. She recommends getting healthy before paying a visit.