(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana state health officials confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Indiana.
Gov. Eric Holcomb made the announcement during a news conference Friday. He’s declared a public health emergency in Indiana related to coronavirus and COVID-19.
Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box said the case involved an individual who traveled to Boston and interacted with people who had been exposed to coronavirus. The individual, a Marion County resident, tested positive for the virus.
The man had developed a low-grade fever, sore throat and cough. He realized he may have been exposed to coronavirus and had been watching for possible symptoms. The man is not in the “highest risk” category.
The individual who tested positive for coronavirus has been staying in quarantine after isolating himself. No other patients or caregivers have been exposed, officials said. He’ll remain in isolation for 14 days and won’t be released until he tests negative for COVID-19 for two consecutive days.
Officials said it was a matter of “when, not if” coronavirus would make it to Indiana. They’ve spent the last few weeks preparing for the eventuality.
Coronaviruses spread in multiple ways:
- 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
- In rare cases, fecal contamination
Health officials urged Hoosiers to take precautions, reminding them to wash their hands with soap and warm water. They also recommended that people “bump elbows” when greeting each other instead of shaking hands.
Hoosiers who believe they’ve been exposed to coronavirus should call their doctor or local health department to arrange testing.
Officials also reminded people to take precautions against the spread of any illness–be it coronavirus or flu.
Here are the recommended precautions:
- 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.