There is a possible viral outbreak in Mesa county Colorado. All schools in Mesa county have bee shut down.

Mesa County Public Health Response and Recommendations related to Gastrointestinal Illness Outbreak Affecting Mesa CountySOURCE

“All District 51 schools closed Nov. 21-22 – ”

Grand Junction, CO – The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. With the recent rise in illnesses across the valley, we have made a decision to close all D51 schools this Thursday and Friday, Nov. 21-22. All District 51 schools will reopen as scheduled following Thanksgiving Break. The closure includes all afterschool activities beginning Thursday, Nov. 21.

We have never before had to close all schools in the district due to illness. According to D51 Nursing Coordinator Tanya Marvin, “We are taking this highly unusual action because this virus is extremely contagious and spreading quickly across our schools. In addition, it appears that there is now a second, related virus that is affecting students, some of whom have already been ill in recent weeks. The combination of the two has created an unprecedented spread of illness.”

Onset of symptoms for both types of viruses, including vomiting, is incredibly fast. The second version also causes fever in several cases.

We understand that a districtwide closure is an inconvenience to families and a rare step to take. While our custodial crews are working tirelessly to disinfect schools, the rapid spread of illness has led us to the conclusion that closing all schools to allow our custodial crews and environmental health and safety team to perform an intense cleaning of the school buildings is the best course of action. Please check d51schools.org for more information about this developing situation.

Dr. Diana Sirko
Superintendent of Schools
Mesa County Valley School District 51
970-254-5193

This From TIME magazine: “The Mesa County Valley School District 51, which serves more than 22,000 students, plans to keep schools closed on Thursday and Friday and reopen after Thanksgiving, according to a statement from the school district. More than 1,000 students were absent this week, Emily Shockley, spokesperson for the school district tells TIME. The Mesa County Public Health Department says it is closely monitoring the situation and treating the episode as a “norovirus outbreak,” although officials do not have lab confirmation on the exact diagnosis of the illness. “We’re hearing reports that a person might feel just fine, and in less than an hour’s time have a vomiting episode, sometimes in public places,” the agency said in a statement. “That’s causing the further spread of the illness and making it more concerning than a typical gastrointestinal virus, much like norovirus. Health officials said the main symptoms of the outbreak appear to be vomiting and diarrhea, with some individuals reporting a fever—but the effects appear to be short-lived with the illness hitting quickly and patients recovering quickly. The agency notes that patients in this outbreak report feeling better within 12-24 hours.” – SOURCE: TIME – Colorado District Closes All 46 Schools to Stop Spread of ‘Extremely Contagious Virus’

The virus is treatable and health officials are on top of the issue.

Updates to come.

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