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‘Knock on wood’: House of Charity appears to have suppressed second norovirus outbreak

A crowd of people needing the services of the House of Charity line up outside its gates Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 on the corner of Browne Street and Pacific Avenue in downtown Spokane. The charity that feeds and houses the homeless reported the discovery of the norovirus.  Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
A crowd of people needing the services of the House of Charity line up outside its gates Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 on the corner of Browne Street and Pacific Avenue in downtown Spokane. The charity that feeds and houses the homeless reported the discovery of the norovirus. Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Health officials said Tuesday that 22 patrons of the House of Charity have been evaluated for intestinal symptoms, with some testing positive for norovirus.

But the downtown homeless shelter appears to have suppressed a second outbreak of the vomit-inducing illness, which afflicted some 80 people in November.

Catholic Charities Director Rob McCann said the virus has spread more slowly this time around, and the symptoms are less severe.

McCann said health officials and House of Charity managers immediately started bleach-cleaning the shelter after a dozen cases of the illness were reported Monday. Those protocols – established after the November outbreak – may have prevented dozens of new infections Monday night, he said.

“We had pretty good news overnight,” he said. “It looks like – knock on wood – we’re on a downward trajectory rather than an outbreak trajectory.”

McCann had expressed fear that another major outbreak could shutter the House of Charity, stranding hundreds of homeless people in the winter cold.

Contact the writer:

(509) 459-5047chadso@spokesman.com


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