Possibly 145 Sick from Norovirus after Outbreak in Camp Fire Evacuee Shelters

CHICO -- Hundreds of Camp Fire evacuees are now dealing with a Norovirus outbreak at several shelters.

The Butte County Health Department says since the Camp Fire, around 145 people have experienced symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea.

Officials say they’ve gradually seen the number of people sick increase at several shelters since the fire.

People at a Chico evacuation center are now hoping the illness doesn't continue to spread.

More than 100 evacuees are staying at a Chico church that is now operating as an evacuation center.

Jim Rose, who is staying at the shelter says, “the conditions are pretty good” but, according to Butte County health officials, nearly two dozen of those people are currently experiencing effects from an illness making its way through shelters.

One evacuee says he fears his girlfriend may have contracted the illness. “she’s been vomiting all day,” he said. “I think it could be very serious.”

The outbreak has been confirmed by the Butte County Health Department to be Norovirus, which is highly contagious.

“They have a quarantine area in the back, in fact my friend is back there right now,” stated Rose.

Health officials say it’s spread particularly amongst people in close quarters. Most people are sick up to three days and can get better without medical help.

However, for evacuees like Rose, he’s taking the necessary precautions to stay safe.

“I wash my hands all the time, and my system’s pretty strong. I haven’t caught it,” Rose said.

Health officials say there’s no medicine or vaccination to get rid of the illness; the best way to avoid it is to constantly wash your hands.