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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health

Norovirus FAQs

What is it?

Norovirus, also known as Norwalk Virus, is a common cause of diarrhea and vomiting in humans. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, headache, fever, chills and sore throat. Symptoms usually start suddenly and last from 24-48 hours.

Where does it come from and how is it spread?

Contaminated water, shellfish and salad ingredients are the most common sources for community outbreaks. The virus is very contagious and spreads easily from person to person through the fecal-oral route. It is often responsible for outbreaks in nursing homes.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Thorough hand washing is the best prevention. People ill with diarrhea should be isolated from others.
  • Washrooms and frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned daily.
  • In institutions, isolate those who are ill until they are symptom-free for 72 hours.
  • Ill staff should remain off work until 72 hours after symptoms disappear.
  • Encourage visitors to wash their hands before and after visiting the facility


Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors, Norwalk Virus, August 2000.

Norovirus Fact Sheet printable pdf

Need More Information About Norovirus FAQs?

Talk to your health care provider or call our Communicable Disease Program at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349.

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Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.


Symptoms or exposure? Visit for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.