The coronavirus has officially reached Indiana, according to Gov. Eric Holcomb who spoke during an Indiana State Department of Health press conference at 11 a.m. on Friday.
“We are here today to announce that Indiana has, in fact, received its first case of coronavirus, COVID-19,” Gov. Holcomb said.
That individual is an adult male who recently traveled to Boston and became infected after making contact with at least one individual at an event who was infected, according to State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box.
During the press conference, Gov. Holcomb stated that he has signed and declared a public health emergency in response to the case. The declaration will ensure that Indiana is in the best position possible to get federal funding to keep Hoosiers safe.
The ISDH is working closely with the Marion County Public Health Department, Community Hospital North and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that any close contacts of the patient are identified and monitored.
The patient will remain in isolation for 14 days and will not be released until specimens taken two consecutive days at the end of that period test negative for COVID-19. No additional information about the patient will be released due to privacy laws.
Dr. Box added that there is no on-going risk to the public’s health due to this case. She also commended the patient for doing everything possible to limit COVID-19’s transmission to others.
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.
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well, wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms to protect others from the risk of infection.