Davenport closing campus for 4 days amid suspected norovirus outbreak

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jan 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-17 22:19:28-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Davenport University says it is closing its W.A. Lettinga Campus for the rest of the week amid a suspected norovirus outbreak.

The university says in a release that the closure impacts "non-residential students, non-essential faculty and staff, and other W.A. Lettinga Campus visitors."  On campus athletic events scheduled through Sunday have also been cancelled or postponed.

The Kent County Health Department says that nearly 100 students or staff at the university have reported symptoms of norovirus.

"It’s a good number, it causes us some concern because those folks are also going out into the population and this is the time of the year where we really see this kind of thing spread readily," said Steve Kelso with the Kent County Health Department.  "Probably not because of the weather but probably because we’re all inside and bunched together and it’s pretty easy for us to just shake hands and spread that stuff along."

Kent County officials are collecting samples to test for the virus.  Those samples will be sent on to state officials.

The most effective ways to prevent catching a norovirus is to wash your hands with soap and water, especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper.  Always wash your hands before eating or preparing food.  People with norovirus illnesses should not prepare food for at least two days after their symptoms disappear.

"If someone fails to wash their hands [and] touches a surface, it will remain on that surface for hours," says Kelso. "If that surface happens to be a doorknob, then everyone who passes that doorknob or touches that doorknob now has it on their hands. So now every one of those people who wipes their eye or maybe puts it in their mouth or gets it close to their face somehow has the opportunity to get and spread that virus."

You are recommended to clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces, wash laundry thoroughly and stay home if you are sick.

The campus is scheduled to reopen Jan. 22.