STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT REPORTS INCREASE IN COVID-19 CASES


Posted on: March 9th, 2020 by Ric Federighi 1 Comment

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) will provide daily updates regarding COVID-19 in Indiana as activity has increased across the United States. As of 4 p.m. Monday:

  • ISDH has confirmed four presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday, March 6.
  • Three patients are adults.
  • One patient is a juvenile.
  • The individuals reside in Marion, Hendricks and Noble counties.
  • The Marion and Hendricks County patients are self-isolating. The Noble County patient is currently hospitalized.
  • No other information about the patients or their conditions will be released.
  • In total, ISDH has tested 32 individuals, including 3 individuals whose tests were sent to CDC.
  • Two adult patients have a recent history of travel to business events where transmission of COVID-19 has occurred. The third adult patient also has a reported history of travel.
  • In connection with these specific cases, ISDH is working closely with health officials in all three counties, the Avon Community School Corp. and the Indiana Department of Education to ensure infection control protocols are in place and make the best determinations to reduce further transmission of COVID-19.
  • The spread of COVID-19 in Indiana is shifting to community transmission, as expected. 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.
  • High-risk populations, such as elderly residents or people with weakened immune systems, should consider whether they need to socially distance themselves.
  • Avon Community Schools has decided to close all its schools through March 20.
  • ISDH is recommending long-term care facilities and hospitals review their visitation polices.
  • ISDH recommends that nursing homes follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, found here.
  • Many hospitals have visitor restrictions in place due to influenza. ISDH recommends hospitals continue to monitor the situation and revise those policies as appropriate.
  • Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box, M.D., FACOG, and Indiana Department of Homeland Security Director Stephen Cox will begin meeting with Indiana’s 10 public health preparedness districts this week to review strategies and engage in person with local emergency management services, hospitals, county health departments and emergency management agencies.
  • The State has upgraded its Emergency Operations Center to a Level 3 to allow for more coordination among state agencies.
  • The ISDH call center for healthcare providers and members of the public who have concerns about COVID-19 will be staffed 24 hours a day at 317-233-7125.
  • While the call center is now staffed 24/7, the public is asked to use the ISDH COVID-19 website, the CDC website or contact their healthcare provider with questions or to learn the most up-to-date information about the outbreak and what steps to take. Questions about symptoms and many risk factors, as well as guidance on travel, can be answered using the websites, which will leave the call center lines open to take calls from healthcare providers or others regarding the most ill patients. 
  • The ISDH Laboratories follow CDC guidance on which patients to test. Patients who do not meet those guidelines can ask their healthcare providers about being tested by a private lab.
  • ISDH encourages providers to use private labs that have come on line for lower-risk patients to allow the ISDH lab to focus on those at highest risk and those who are more severely ill.
  • If you suspect you have COVID-19 but have mild symptoms, you are asked to stay home and consult with your healthcare provider.

All confirmed COVID-19 patients are required to remain in isolation until specimens taken on two consecutive days test negative for COVID-19. Individuals who have recently visited an area under a Level 3 travel warning also are asked to self-isolate for 14 days and notify their local health department or a healthcare provider if they develop symptoms of COVID-19, which include cough, fever and shortness of breath.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel, or new, coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. 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 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.

This is an ongoing situation and is evolving rapidly. For more information, including a list of frequently asked questions, visit https://on.in.gov/COVID19 and subscribe to receive updates. Future updates will also be posted to this website.

Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at http://www.in.gov/isdh/ or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StateHealthIN.

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