Davenport closing campus for 4 days amid illness outbreak

Ottawa County health officials also reporting spread of norovirus-like illness

Norovirus transmission electron microscopy
This undated Negative-stain Transmission Electron Microscopy image, provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA, shows a Norovirus, also known as the Norwalk Virus.. (AP Photo/F.P. Williams, U.S. EPA)

CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Davenport University says it is closing its W.A. Lettinga campus from Thursday through Sunday in light of a possible outbreak of norovirus.

The Kent County Health Department says 100 students have experienced symptoms consistent with norovirus. Health officials are collecting samples to test for the contagious virus.

Davenport University announced its four-day closure Wednesday afternoon, saying it was “in the best interest of students, faculty, staff and community,” who are all impacted. The university has also canceled or postponed all athletic events scheduled to happen on campus.

Online classes and other campuses are not affected, according to the school. Classes and normal operations are expected to resume on Monday.

Davenport said it’s implementing all of the health department’s recommendations, which include isolating all individuals with symptoms in their rooms until 48 hours after they ease, provide in-room food service and cleaning agents, and to shut down or limit the amount of lunch services in order to thoroughly clean the food service areas. The university said it is also attempting to provide care for those who have become ill.

In an earlier news release, Davenport officials said the first cases of illness were reported over the weekend, and those who have become ill have been asked to remain isolated.

The Ottawa County Health Department is also warning about the spread of norovirus-like illness across the area, primarily involving schools and child care places. It’s unclear how many residents have been affected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, norovirus is a contagious virus that can be contracted by contaminated food or water, by touching contaminated surfaces or from an infected person. It can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. The CDC says more than 80 percent of reported outbreaks happen between November and April.

The bug usually lasts 24 hours to 36 hours. The Kent County Health Department says bleach kills the virus. However, you should let it sit on surfaces for a few minutes before rinsing it off.