Gov. Holcomb Announces First Hoosier Death from COVID-19

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Gov. Eric Holcomb has announced the first Hoosier death from COVID-19. He says the patient died earlier today.

“This just underscores how incredibly important it is that social distancing is right now to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Holcomb said during a press conference today.

The adult from Marion County died at a Community Health Network hospital on Monday morning. The person, who was over age 60, had been hospitalized as a COVID-19 patient and also suffered from underlying medical conditions. No further information will be released about the patient or the case. The individual had not traveled abroad, officials said, making this a case of community spread.

“A family today is suffering the ultimate loss due to COVID-19, and this sadly underscores how severe the virus can be – especially for some high-risk Hoosiers,” Gov. Holcomb said. “The state is taking unprecedented actions to slow the spread of COVID-19, and every Hoosier should follow the precautionary measures.”

“To those who think we are overreacting, I assure you we are not. We are at war with COVID-19 and we will win this war,” Holcomb said.

Dr. Ram Yelenti of Community Health said the patient had to use an iPad to conference with a loved one before dying. A nurse was with the patient when he or she died.

The patient who died may have exposed as many of 40 people who are in Community facilities.

“Sadly, this is not the first patient and it won’t be the last,” Yelenti said.

He said people 60 and older with other medical conditions should self-quarantine. Even college students, who may not be ill, may carry the virus and make older people sick, Yelenti said.

State Health Commissioner,Dr. Kris Box is encouraging people to stay home.

Box also said Marion County is showing “community spread” that cannot be traced back to travel to affected countries or conferences.

“We have had some individuals who are in the process of recovering but are not out of isolation at this time,” Box said.

“I cannot stress this enough – if you are ill, stay home. If you need to seek medical care, call ahead so that your healthcare provider can take steps to protect others from exposure to COVID-19,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “We all have a role to play to protect Hoosiers from this illness, and the time to act is now.”

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel, or new, coronavirus that has not been previously identified. It is not the same as the type of coronavirus that causes the common cold. To date, 24 Hoosiers across 13 counties have received presumptive positive tests for COVID-19. All but one are adults.

She also said Indiana has not yet received any of the Roche Diagnostics testing kits offered by the federal government. Tests will be reserved for people who show up to emergency rooms who show signs of having the virus, particularly those 60 and older with underlying health conditions.

Jennifer McCormick, Indiana’s top education leader, said, schools are working on solutions for daycare issues and the distribution of meals.

Stephen Cox, director of Indiana Homeland Security, said the state’s emergency operations center is at Level 1.

Holcomb also acknowledged Hoosiers are losing jobs or having to leave jobs temporarily. He said state employment offices are working to waive any requirements that are barriers to receiving help.

“We are aware of the economic hardships this is causing. The more we do now, the better we’ll be down the line,” Holcomb said.

The Indiana State Department of Health has been issuing daily updates at 10 a.m.

On Monday morning, ISDH reported 24 confirmed cases. That’s up from 19 on Sunday.

ISDH says 139 people have been tested. That’s up from 121 on Sunday.

County-by-county breakdown of positive cases:

  • Adams – 1
  • Bartholomew – 1
  • Boone – 1
  • Floyd – 1
  • Hamilton – 1
  • Hendricks – 3
  • Howard – 2
  • Johnson – 3
  • LaPorte – 1
  • Marion – 7
  • Noble – 1
  • St. Joseph – 1
  • Wells – 1

These are the first reported cases in Bartholomew and Floyd counties.

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 and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands; and
  • Rarely, fecal contamination.

Many people who acquire COVID-19 will have mild symptoms, can self-isolate and do not need to be tested. Older individuals and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness.

The best ways to protect yourself are to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay home when you’re sick, cover your cough or sneeze and 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.