Virus makes 36 sick at McDowell Place

Published 9:13 am Friday, January 5, 2018

A nasty virus has been making people sick at McDowell Place of Danville and steps are being taken to wipe it out.

According to Jeremy Cocanougher, spokesperson for McDowell Place, residents began showing symptoms of a contagious virus, which has not been identified, just before Christmas. He said within a day the staff realized the sickness would spread and began to aggressively take action for its prevention.

Cocanougher said McDowell Place is working with Ephraim McDowell Health infection control department, as well as the Boyle County Health Department, to implement all recommendations that will limit the spread of the virus.

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Brent Blevins, public health director for the health department said this type of break-out happens when people are in confined spaces like residential facilities and schools.

“It’s just that time of year,” Blevins said.

One of the ways to limit the spread of the illness, Cocanougher said, is that McDowell Place is requesting families and friends restrain from visiting for a few days. Regular social activities have been suspended and all 98 residents are being served three meals a day, as well as snacks, in their rooms because the main dining area is closed. This is to limit exposure to the virus due to close proximity.

Cocanougher said “It’s an inconvenience for families and it’s an inconvenience for residents. But hopefully in the very near future it (the virus) will go away.”

In addition, the staff is disinfecting and cleaning everything in the building more aggressively than normal and are taking steps to reinforce the importance of washing hands and other hygiene practices.

Cocanougher said they are not certain what type of virus this is, but “It is some kind of bug.” He said as of Thursday afternoon, there have been 26 residents and 10 staff members who have fallen ill. One of them was taken to the hospital for treatment for dehydration.

He said McDowell Place is continuing to work with the infection control department in dealing with the situation and will ease up on the restrictions once the department advises when it’s safe to do so.

In the meantime, McDowell staff is taking needed items to each resident and dropping off things to occupy their time such as crossword puzzles, magazines and books.

The good news, he said, was the spread of the virus “seems to be slowing down.”