Health officials confirmed a very contagious virus is spreading in the Hudson Valley.

Early Thursday, a spokesperson from Vassar Brothers Medical Center denied there was an outbreak of norovirus at the hospital.

"There has been an uptick of gastroenteritis cases coming into Vassar Brothers Medical Center, primarily through the Emergency Department," John R. Nelson the Director, Public and Community Affairs for Vassar Brothers Medical Center said in an email to Hudson Valley Post..

At the time of the email, Nelson said he wouldn't characterize it as an "outbreak and it has not been confirmed as a norovirus."

However, in a separate email to Hudson Valley Post, a New York State Department of Health spokesperson did use the word "outbreak."

“The New York State Department of Health has been in contact with Vassar Brothers Medical Center regarding an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness at the facility," New York State Department of Health Public Information Officer Jeffrey Hammond said.

Late Thursday, Nelson told Hudson Valley Post a suspected case of norovirus was confirmed to be norovirus.

"We had a suspected case of norovirus come in through our Emergency Department on February 14. We reported this to the state Department of Health as we do in all instances like this and sent it for testing to get confirmed. It was confirmed as a norovirus this morning. The DOH informed us that there has been an uptick of gastroenteritis and norovirus cases throughout the greater community and with their assistance we are following all recommended infection control steps and, as always, putting the safety of our patients and employees above all else," Nelson said.

According to the New York State Department of Health, anyone can become infected with norovirus and it's easily spread. It's typically spread from person to person by direct contact and the virus is passed in stool and vomit, officials say.

The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

The New York State Department of Health recommends taking the following steps to reduce the risk of acquiring or spreading the infection:

  • Wash hands thoroughly after each toilet visit and before and after preparing food.
  • People who experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea should not attend school or work and should not handle food for others while ill.
  • Avoid drinking untreated water.
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly before eating