ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - Officials at Albuquerque's Kaseman Presbyterian Hospital said they still don't know what caused so many people to become sick with a stomach virus.
Since Monday, at least 26 people, including patients and staff members, have gotten sick.
Elizabeth Brophy, a spokeswoman for Presbyterian Healthcare Services, told The Associated Press Thursday the people who became ill at Kaseman remain in the hospital.
"The patients in our skilled nursing unit have been isolated from the rest of the hospital," she said.
The staffers who became ill were told to go home and not return to work for 72 hours after the symptoms are gone, Brophy said.
Since Monday, hospital officials have been working diligently with the New Mexico Department of Health and the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department to determine the cause of the illness that made people sick with diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and other stomach-related illnesses, she said.
Meanwhile, the state has taken lab samples from the hospital and is trying to determine what led to the outbreak.
"We suspect it's a norovirus just by the type of illness and how it's spread," said Chris Minnick, a spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Health.
As of Thursday, the state did not have any lab results available. Minnick added that the cause of the outbreak might never be determined.
Meanwhile, the hospital has implemented heightened cleaning procedures.
"Since Monday, we have been very rigorous in making sure we have tightened our level of cleaning, ensuring our housekeeping staffing is working diligently on that," Brophy said.
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