Library Closed Due To Norovirus Outbreak - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Library Closed Due To Norovirus Outbreak

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By: Claire Powell


The Ames Public Library was forced to close its' doors Wednesday morning after 28 people called in sick to work.

The phone calls and emails started pouring in around 8 a.m. As the calls started piling, the library realized they wouldn't have enough staff to stay open.

"Usually I come in the main door and people are already here and no one was so I thought that's interesting…" said Valerie Donnell, who works at the library, "It just progressed very quickly a lot of emails, phone messages of people not feeling well."

Everyone complained of the same symptoms: nausea, vomiting, headaches and diarrhea .

The Iowa Department of Public Health and Story County Department of Public Health quickly worked together to figure out a cause.

The staff members had ate together on Monday, but food-borne illness didn't seem to be the cause because it wasn't affecting everyone. Then the Ames Fire Department quickly tested and ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning.

The last option was a type of Norovirus, since everyone was experiencing similar symptoms to the illness. The state recommended a deep cleaning of every hard surface in the library.

"It's getting a deep cleaning, disinfecting surfaces and cleaning and not sure how long that will take," said Donnell.

"We contacted IDPH and got the protocol on how to clean and we wanted to make sure that when it reopens its spick-and-span," said Susan Gwiasda, city of Ames.

Health officials won't have the illness confirmed until Thursday.

The Ames Public Library will be closed all day Thursday due to the excessive illness and the forecasted snow, but they plan to reopen on Friday. 

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