Norovirus continues to be present on campus though at the moment its transmission appears to be fairly stable. As of 11 a.m. today we had reports of about 16 new cases of norovirus-like illness over the past 24 hours – about the same rate as the past few days. As the symptoms tend to last 24-48 hours, students are also getting well, so the overall prevalence on campus is fairly stable at the moment.
“Cases of norovirus are very common for this area this time of year,” said David Martin, an official with the Piedmont District of the Virginia Department of Health. “We have seen cases across the region, and the numbers we have tracked at Longwood are not unusual. The best thing to do to protect yourself from the virus is continue washing hands often and practice good hygiene. The Virginia Department of Health and Longwood are working closely together to coordinate response and information.”
If you have symptoms of norovirus, please do not attend classes or report for work. If you are student, as always, work with faculty members to coordinate making up work. There is no reason for well students to stay home. Those who believe they have had norovirus should stay home for two full days after their symptoms disappear.
Longwood staff is continuing with stepped-up cleaning efforts across campus.
As of Wednesday morning, there were about ten new reports of possible norovirus cases, and because some affected students are beginning to get well, the overall count remains about 40 on campus. We of course recognize there are likely some other cases on and around campus that haven’t been reported, but we have a detailed reporting system in place and are confident we are tracking this effectively. Of course, as is always the case on campus in February, we continue to have students stick with flu-like and other illnesses. Not everyone who is sick has norovirus.
It is important that we remain extremely vigilant – the norovirus isn’t just present here at Longwood but throughout the region. Continue to wash your hands vigorously and often, and practice good hygiene. We will continue with stepped up cleaning efforts, and are meeting daily to coordinate efforts.
The illness typically lasts for 24 to 48 hours; however it still may be possible spread the virus after symptoms have disappeared, so it is imperative if you have had norovirus (intensive vomiting and diarrhea) that you continue to wash hands aggressively afterward. Those who believe they have had norovirus should stay home for two full days after their symptoms disappear.
We’ve been in contact with Academic Affairs regarding class attendance policy. There is no reason for well students to stay home. If you become sick, as always you should contact your professor and make arrangements for making up work. If there are issues or concerns with that, contact your Assistant/Associate Dean of your College.
Update: As of 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, there are roughly three dozen confirmed student cases of Norovirus. With a student body of nearly 5,000, we naturally expect illnesses at this time of year and remain vigilant in our prevention and cleanup efforts.
Have there been many cases on Longwood’s campus?
As of Tuesday morning, there are a total of just five confirmed cases of norovirus on Longwood’s campus since last week, but we are remaining vigilant. Part of that is collecting the most information we can, which is why we are gathering reports from Resident Assistants, faculty and staff, Centra Southside Hospital, and reports received in Facilities and campus dispatch.
What about cases you can’t confirm?
We have received other reports of students and staff who are sick, as is common this time of year, but we don’t know for certain if they are norovirus–however we are taking every report seriously. There are fewer than ten of these cases.
What is the university doing to protect students and staff?
Since last week, when the virus hit nearby Hampden-Sydney College, we have ramped up cleaning efforts, focusing on common, high-usage areas and using stronger chemicals. Cleaning crews are on call and prepared to disinfect any area that may be affected. In addition, clorox wipes have been available at the front desks of all residence halls since Friday, Jan. 30.
How is the university coordinating its response?
The university is certainly taking the situation seriously and has taken several steps to prevent the spread of the virus on campus. A group of officials has been meeting daily to monitor both the number of incidents and our response. Our first goal is ensuring and maintaining the safety of the campus community.
What should students or staff do if they have symptoms?
Contact your RA and let them know you are sick, so that cleaning crews can respond. Try to rest and push fluids to prevent dehydration. If you are significantly dehydrated, seek medical attention.
What should students or staff do who don’t have symptoms?
The most important piece in stopping the spread of this virus is personal prevention: washing your hands vigorously and often is paramount. However, if you know of someone who is sick, please contact your RA or call the student health center.
Over the weekend, four cases of students with gastrointestinal issues were reported to university officials. In each case, cleaning crews disinfected the reported area with bleach. The university is continuing to monitor the situation and cleaning crews are standing by. Students, faculty and staff who do not have symptoms of the virus should continue to practice good hygiene, including washing hands often (remember to always wash for 20 seconds).
Several days ago, a norovirus appeared in the region and affected a large number of students at nearby Hampden-Sydney College. Longwood University is working closely with Centra Southside Hospital and other outside agencies to stay informed about the spread of this highly contagious virus, and so far we have seen only a handful of cases on campus.
Longwood has taken several steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including:
If you come in contact with bodily fluids on campus, please request housekeeping services immediately by calling 395-2310 or the Facilities Work Request number at 395-2373. If it is after 5 p.m., call the police dispatch number at 2091.
There are several preventative measures that all students, faculty and staff should take to help ward off this virus: Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds each time, stay hydrated, clean rooms and wash laundry. Using hand sanitizer that is at least 70% alcohol with help prevent the flu virus, but will not kill the norovirus.
If you come down with the virus, clean up all vomit or stool with a mixture of bleach and soapy water, push fluids by taking sips of water or sports drinks, and try to rest. A significant health risk associated with this virus is dehydration. Some of the most common signs of significant dehydration are dizziness, severe abdominal cramps and headache. If you experience no break between spells of vomiting and diarrhea, seek immediate medical attention.