The Allen County Department of Health, in consultation with the Indiana State Department of Health, has confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in two county residents. The patients are currently isolated, according to a news release from the county health department.
"The department is working closely with the state health department to identify any close contacts of the patients who may have been exposed to ensure appropriate precautions are taken in accordance with the latest CDC guidance," according to the release.
“The COVID-19 virus has been making its way around the world since late last year, so this should not come as a surprise,” said Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan in the release. “These cases just confirm what we have been learning: this virus easily spreads from person-to-person, and the actions taken to slow its pace will allow our health care workers to continue to provide care to trauma, significant chronic conditions, acute issues like heart attacks in addition to respiratory infections like flu and COVID-19.”
The first patient confirmed March 19 was a young adult who had recently traveled abroad and began exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 shortly after returning to the U.S. The second patient also confirmed March 19 was an older adult with underlying chronic health conditions. No further information about the patients will be released due to privacy laws.
COVID-19 testing is still limited and the confirmation of positive cases in our community does not mean everyone needs to be tested, McMahan said in the release. The community is strongly encouraged to follow the department’s recommendations to call their doctor for further instruction if they have a fever 100 degrees F or higher and a cough.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Like other human coronaviruses, COVID-19 is most commonly believed to 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 virus, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, was first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China,in late 2019. The Indiana State Department of Health updates the state case count on their website at www.in.gov/coronavirus.
Department officials want to remind the public as cases continue to be confirmed throughout the state, preparation and not panic is important. The best way to protect yourself is to:
• Stay home and follow social distancing guidelines regularly updated by the state of Indiana.
• 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.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.