1st case of virus confirmed in Indiana; case ‘isolated’


INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — Indiana has its first case of COVID-19, officials announced.

The patient is an adult who recently traveled to Boston who had contact with individuals at a conference there, said Indiana Health Commissioner Kristina Box. They returned to Indiana on Wednesday.

At the point, Box said the person called health officials and said “he” may be infected with the virus. They were taken into a hospital for testing.

The patient is a Marion County resident. Box said the patient was in “stable” condition and in “self-isolation” outside of a hospital. They will remain in isolation for 14 days.

Box said the case was “mild” and the patient did not need to be hospitalized.

The case is “isolated,” she said, and the risk to the general public is “low.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has declared a public health emergency in the wake of the case.

“The state health department has been preparing for weeks to ensure that we have the resources and systems in place to limit or prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Indiana,” Box said. “Given the global spread of this illness, the question was never if Indiana would have a case, but when it would arrive. I want to stress that this is an isolated case, and that this patient and the hospital did everything possible to limit the risk of exposure to other individuals. Because of those steps, the risk of additional exposure and community transmission is low, but we are taking every precaution to prevent new infections related to this patient.”

The Indiana State Department of Health is working with the Marion County Public Health Department, Community Hospital North and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify and monitor anyone who had close contact with the patient and ensure infection control protocols are followed.

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and
  • Rarely, fecal contamination.

The best way to protect yourself from any respiratory illness, including the flu, is to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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