CASTRO VALLEY -- Residents at a senior living facility have been asked to remain in their rooms for the past two weeks because of an outbreak of norovirus, a severe gastrointestinal illness, but the voluntary quarantine could be lifted by early next week.

"It looks like we're about at the end," said Bruce Udelf, executive director at Baywood Court Retirement Community. "It's been a couple of days since our last new case."

Udelf would not say how many people have come down with norovirus at the facility. Because of the outbreak, Baywood Court shut down its dining hall, and workers have been delivering meals to its 300 residents in their rooms. No new residents have been admitted, and all activities and outings have been halted, he said.

The confinement has not sat well with Rita Lynch, who has lived at the center at 21966 Dolores St. for two years.

"I'm an active person," said Lynch, who at 88 golfs regularly. "I'm easygoing, but not to see my friends, go to church or go to the store is upsetting."

Baywood Court has individual apartments, an assisted living center and a skilled nursing facility.

The quarantine is for the residents' safety, Udelf said. The highly contagious norovirus is spread by touching, and mingling in the dining hall or during activities increases the risk, he said. Meals are being prepared under strict guidelines and served on paper plates, which are disposed of. The center is following the advice of the Alameda County Public Health Department on how to handle the outbreak, Udelf said.

A Santa Rosa senior facility also was under a voluntary quarantine this month because of an outbreak of norovirus, according to KTVU.com. The Lodge at Paulin Creek administrators hoped to be able to lift the quarantine by the end of this week, the report said.

Commonly called stomach flu, norovirus can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and can be serious for older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The common illness is blamed for 570 to 800 deaths each year in the United States, according to the CDC.

Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.