KCMO senior living community under quarantine for weeks due to stomach virus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A senior living and memory care community has been under quarantine for weeks. Benton House of Tiffany Springs is trying to contain a stomach bug going around the facility.

There are signs plastered on the doors at Benton House of Tiffany Springs notifying everyone there are sick people inside and asking visitors to use hand sanitizer and put on gloves and a mask.

“I think anywhere where there's a lot of people -- whether it be church, shopping malls, airports, nursing facilities, long-term care facilities -- it's always a risk because some of these viruses can be spread by inanimate objects," said Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease physician at the University of Kansas Health System. "So if somebody is sick and maybe sneezes, they can get on these objects, and other people can pick them up when we rub our eyes, our nose, our mouth. We can inoculate ourselves with it and become ill from it."

Although Janelle Cumro-Sultzer, executive director of Benton House of Tiffany Springs, declined an interview, she did give us this statement:

“We appreciate the interest in our residents’ wellbeing. Unfortunately, any congregate setting such as a school, church, hospital or senior living community can be susceptible to contracting a virus. Rest assured we are following all protocols and working closely with the health department to limit the duration and reach the end of the illness. We are so proud of our residents and staff who have rallied and supported one another and look forward to putting this behind us soon.”

A spokesman for the state health department said they're doing some lab tests to figure out what exactly is causing the illness and are working closely with the facility.

Hawkinson said although this is a gastrointestinal virus, he wanted to share that flu numbers are up in Kansas and in other states -- and hand hygiene is important and can help with both illnesses.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment posts flu numbers on its website.