The Redwoods senior residential care facility in Mill Valley allegedly experienced the death of two elderly patients over the holiday weekend and six others were transported to the hospital following an outbreak of the contagious norovirus. Primary indications of the illness were noticed since Dec. 24. Reports allege that 59 others at the care facility were sickened too.

English: Norovirus particles
English: Norovirus particles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Matthew Willis a Marin County Public Health Officer reported the incident on Friday. He stated that the two people that died at senior residential facility did not die solely from the norovirus.

According to the county the problem seems to be slowly dissipating, on Friday they stated that the outbreak at The Redwoods appears to be in “waning stages.”

Because both patients were eighty-six or older, requested “do not resuscitate,” and had significant preexisting conditions, they were in vulnerable state prior to encountering the illness.

“This is a viral illness that causes dehydration and in patients in a tenuous condition to begin with, it may contribute to but cannot be called the cause of death per se,” Dr. Willis told journalists.

Patients at the facility will be in quarantine for a period that will extend until next Wednesday. To achieve this, residents have to follow certain restrictions. Group meetings and activities have been canceled. The communal dining room is temporarily closed, which means that residents have to consume their meals in their rooms.

This quarantine has upset some of the residents “I’m furious about the way it’s being handled here,” said resident Rachelle Marshall, 85. “The meals are cold, late, inadequate, meager. We never know from day to day what the situation is. This has happened before, and I can’t help but think that more planning should have been done. The people who work here are wonderful, but the kitchen staff should have planned for this.”

Marshall told the publication that she and her husband had fallen ill and they believed it was from the norovirus.

“It’s what we used to call the intestinal flu,” she said. “It’s awful, but it goes away.”

Villa Marin in San Rafael saw an outbreak of the virus – which is a flu-like illness with a span that lasts anywhere from 24-48 hours – in November.

“Norovirus … can be serious, especially for the very young and very old,” Dr. Willis said. “Although not common, death may occur, usually as a result of dehydration.”

According to Dr. Willis, outbreaks of the illness can occur anywhere, especially in communal environments such as care facilities and schools. There are various ways to prevent the illness from reaching your communal area. Washing your hands is the most essential – always before eating, preparing, and handling food. Contaminated surfaces should be cleaned with chlorine bleach mixture of up to twenty-five tablespoons per gallon of water.

If your senior facility has been negligent in maintaining clean facilities and you or your loved one fell ill, then contact a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer today!