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Innocent Mistake? Or Was Nursing Home’s Delay In Notifying Health Department Of Norovirus Outbreak Intentional?

Norovirus Outbreak in Nursing HomeAs many as 80 patients and staff at a California Nursing Home have become ill due to an outbreak of norovirus at their facility.  The first symptoms of illnesses related to norovirus were first reported on November 6th at Country Villa Healthcare Center in Novato, CA.

Several of the patients became so ill that they required treatment at a hospital.

However, it wasn’t until November 10th that officials at Country Villa elected to notify public health officials. The delay in reporting the norovirus outbreak significantly impair efforts by state officials to secure the origin of this outbreak.

But was the delay intentional?

Cynical me, I tend to think nursing home operators are a fairly intelligent bunch and delays reporting an incident or situation to officials outside of the facility are an intentional decision calculated to protect the facility.

In cases involving norovirus, the source of the outbreak may be related to poor sanitation or improper handling of food served at the facility.  In delaying an investigation several days, facilities have an opportunity to rectify unfit conditions before inspectors can issue a citation.

Norovirus (also referred to as Norwalk Virus) is a gastrointestinal illness that can be easily spread though in-person-contact.  Most people infected with norovirus usually recover on their own after letting the illness take it course.  However, norovirus can be particularly troublesome for elderly patients with weakened immune systems which put the person at risk for further complications.

Learn more about the laws applicable to California nursing homes here.
Click on the links for information on nursing homes in San Diego , Los Angeles and San Francisco

Related:

Norovirus outbreak prompts quarantine of Marin nursing home, MercuryNews.com November 22, 2011

Nursing Homes Poorly Controlling Infections Amongst Patients

Norovirus Infiltrates Illinois Nursing Homes

Elderly Nursing Home Patients Are Particularly Susceptible To Illness Related To Contaminated Food

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