The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has identified the second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in the state. The patient, an adult who resides in Hendricks County, is in isolation with mild symptoms and is not hospitalized at this time.
The patient traveled to Boston in late February to attend the BioGen conference and developed mild flu-like symptoms on March 2. More than a dozen COVID-19 cases nationwide have been tied to the conference, including a Marion County resident who was identified Friday as Indiana’s first COVID-19 case. That patient also remains in self-isolation with mild symptoms.
ISDH is working closely with the Hendricks and Marion County health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure that any close contacts of both patients are identified and monitored and that all infection control protocols are being followed.
“With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the United States and the fact that we are a mobile society, this new case isn’t surprising, but we know it causes concern in the community,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “I urge Hoosiers to continue to educate themselves about this illness and take common-sense precautions, but also to be aware that the vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild in individuals without underlying medical conditions.”
Dr. Box asked Hoosiers who attended the BioGen conference to self-quarantine at home, monitor for symptoms and notify their local health department or a healthcare provider if they develop a cough, fever or shortness of breath. This guidance is consistent with information BioGen shared with conference participants.
David Stopperich, M.D., the Hendricks County health officer, said the county has prepared for possibilities like a COVID-19 case and assured residents that all necessary steps are being taken to reduce the spread of the illness.
“Our health department and the entire medical community of Hendricks County have been working in conjunction with schools, emergency management and other organizations to develop plans to limit the spread of this disease,” Dr. Stopperich said. “I ask anyone who thinks they might have symptoms of COVID-19 to call a healthcare provider so they can be evaluated by phone before going to a medical facility. This will help further limit any spread of this virus.”
All confirmed COVID-19 patients are required to remain in isolation for at least 14 days and 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.
In other developments:
- The ISDH Laboratories is providing COVID-19 testing seven days a week for patients who meet CDC testing criteria.
- ISDH also has ordered additional testing supplies to ensure its laboratory remains able to test those at highest risk and generate results quickly.
- Private laboratory systems, including LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, are beginning to offer testing. Individuals who do not meet the CDC criteria for testing at the ISDH lab can consult their healthcare providers and determine whether private lab testing is appropriate.
- The ISDH call center for healthcare providers and members of the public who have concerns about COVID-19 is now staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 317-233-7125. After-hours calls should be directed to 317-233-1325 and will be answered by an on-call epidemiologist.
- The ISDH COVID-19 website now includes a subscription feature so that Hoosiers can receive alerts when information is changed or added.
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 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.
This is an ongoing situation and is evolving rapidly. ISDH will provide updates as new information becomes available. For more information, including a list of frequently asked questions, visit https://on.in.gov/COVID19.