Marshall nursing home closed to visitors

Stomach virus outbreak forces Avera to place restrictions on facility

MARSHALL — A stomach virus outbreak has forced management at Avera Morningside Heights nursing home to close the facility to visitors

“Avera Morningside Heights is currently closed to visitors due to an increase in stomach illness among some residents,” said Stacy Neubeck, Avera Health communications and public relations coordinator. “The cause of the illness has not been confirmed, but it is suspected to be viral. The restriction of visitors is being done as a precaution to prevent the spread of infection and protect the health of residents and visitors.” 

Avera Health Marshall’s RN chief Nursing Officer Dodie Derynck said the request is necessary to limit the spread of the virus.

“When you and I are sick, we stay home and limit our contact with others,” she said. “For our residents, the best way we can do that is by restricting visitors. That’s why we are requesting that people not visit Avera Morningside Heights at this time.”

 At present, Morningside Heights is the only such facility in the area that is closed. The other major communal/congregate/assisted living facilities in Marshall reported they are open to healthy visitors.

Derynck said Avera Health Marshall has dealt with a rise in patients with influenza and respiratory syncytial virus during the past month.

“But this week, we are seeing fewer cases of these illnesses,” Derynck said. “Our clinics are still seeing steady numbers of patients with influenza, RSV and strep.

Dr. Julijana Botic, Avera Medical Group Internal Medicine, says that in most cases of gastrointestinal illness, there is no specific medication to treat the illness. It most often resolves over time without specific treatment.

She recommends these steps for otherwise healthy people to care for themselves at home:

 •  Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Water, sports drinks and broth are recommended. If you are severely dehydrated, you may need to receive IV fluids.

•  Get plenty of rest

•  Take a probiotic to help restore gut flora

•  Avoid caffeine, sugary drinks, alcohol and spicy foods

• Follow proper hand hygiene

• Handle and prepare food safely, disinfecting surfaces in your home

  People experiencing any of the following symptoms should consult their physician:

•  Severe pain

•  Fever of more than 101 F degrees

•  Cannot hold down water for more than 12 hours

•  Diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours

•  Dizziness, lightheadedness or weakness

•  Not urinating or having dark urine

 Babies, young children, those over 65 and those with chronic medical conditions who develop gastrointestinal illness may be at increased risk of complications and severe dehydration.