INDIANAPOLIS— 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.
10 A.M. update:
AVON — An elementary school student in Avon has tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the entire school district to have an e-learning day on Monday, according to The Republic’s newsgathering partners at WISH TV.
The Hendricks County Health Department on Sunday night notified the school district that a student who attends Hickory Elementary received the positive test result late Sunday and shared it with the district.
The state health commissioner and the Hendricks County Health Department have recommended that Hickory Elementary School be closed for two weeks. Students and staff will return after spring break, on April 6.
If confirmed by the Indiana State Department of Health, the child would be the third person in Indiana to have tested positive for coronavirus. Two people who traveled to Boston in late February to attend a BioGen conference have also tested positive.
INDIANAPOLIS — 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.