Editor’s note: Before the Georgetown norovirus info session, the University held a press conference about the norovirus. Molly’s explanation is a lot more coherent than what I did at the info session and has some new information. Still, we’ll summarize all the important stuff later in the evening.
At a press conference in Riggs library, University President John DeGioia announced that the University would immediately be cleaning dormitories, the Leavey Center, McDonough, and Yates, with special attention to high-contact surfaces, since norovirus spreads very easily from person to person and on surfaces. Handwashing, he said, was going to be key in preventing the spread of the virus over the next few days.
The University has also established a telephone hotline for concerned parents.
Dr. Pierre Vigilance, the Director of the D.C. Department of Health who was also at the press conference, said:
- Students with norovirus are highly contagious during the first 24-48 hours of being sick and while they show symptoms, but can still shed the virus for 2-3 days their symptoms cease
- There is no indication that there have been norovirus outbreaks elsewhere in the D.C. area
- No Leo’s staffworker “has been implicated as having been sick recently”
- “We’re looking at this situation being the result of a person, rather than food,” but norovirus can still be transmitted through food
- “We’re looking forward to this situation wrapping up within 24 hours”
Dr. James Welsh, Assistant VP for Student Health, said:
- 170 students have been confirmed to have norovirus so far, including a second wave that hit the emergency room last night
- 2/3 of those students went to the Georgetown University Hospital, and 1/3 went to the Student Health Center
- One student was admitted to the Hospital for severe hydration, and “all reports indicate he’s doing fine”
- There are currently 2 students in the hospital and 3 at the health center
- “Handwashing is going to be our mantra for a very long time around here”
- “We are hopeful that the worst of this is behind us”
Dr. Vigilance said that in regard to the June health inspection results, which gave a wag of the finger at Leo’s for failing to stock handsoap in the service areas, the University must have rectified the situation to the satisfaction of the inspectors in order to reopen. However, given that hygiene is crucial for preventing the virus’ spread, one wonders if Leo’s hasn’t relapsed since June.