By Jarred Meeks
The Indiana State Dept. of Health reported 10 positive cases of the new coronavirus less than a week after it was first confirmed in the state.
As of press time, at least 10 Indiana residents have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19, a disease stemming from the new coronavirus. The six residents are from Adams, Boone, Hendricks, Howard, Johnson, Marion and Noble counties. So far, ISDH reports that every case has had a connection to a previous case.
The Indiana State Dept. of Health has created a dashboard providing live statistics tracking the disease in the state, including the total number of positive cases and the number of people tested so far. The dashboard can be found at www.in.gov/isdh/28470.htm?utm_source=agency-website&utm_medium=&utm_campaign=&utm_term=&utm_content=.
The dashboard will be updated daily as more cases are expected.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and ISDH announced the first positive case of a new coronavirus in Indiana on March 6, and Holcomb issued a public health emergency declaration in conjunction with the announcement.
The first Hoosier diagnosed with COVID-19 is a Marion County resident who previously traveled to Boston, according to ISDH. Massachusetts had reported seven positive cases of the new coronavirus at the time of the announcement.
“With the help of our federal, state and local partners, Indiana is responding to this case as we have planned and prepared for weeks,” Holcomb stated.
ISDH is working closely with county health departments, hospitals and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure all close contacts of patient are identified and monitored – including immediate family, coworkers and anyone who may have had close interactions – and that all infection-control protocols are followed.
Patients that test positive for the new virus will remain in isolation for 14 days – the time at which symptoms of the disease have been reported to wane – and will not be released until specimens taken two consecutive days at the end of that period test negative for COVID-19, according to ISDH.
“The state health department has been preparing for weeks to ensure that we have the resources and systems in place to limit or prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Indiana,” Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box stated. “Given the global spread of this illness, the question was never if Indiana would have a case, but when it would arrive.”
While health officials try to mitigate the community spread of the disease, testing remains limited to the state level. Counties do not yet have testing kits of their own.
As of press time, the state has tested 40 Indiana residents.
The risk posed by the disease, which as of press time has afflicted 120,000 people and caused 4,000 deaths worldwide, has led many companies and schools to take preventative measures to stop the spread.
Indiana and Purdue universities have suspended in-person classes for the first two weeks after their spring breaks, switching to online courses. Several companies, including Eli Lilly, have asked employees to work from home in all but specific circumstances. Large public gatherings across the U.S. have been postponed or canceled.
“The issue is there is no vaccine for this,” Boone County Commissioner Tom Santelli said. “Right now, everyone is saying it’s like the flu. It’s not like the flu, and we need to have a sense of consciousness about that.”
According to ISDH, human coronaviruses most commonly spreads 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; and touching an object or a surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.”
ISDH will provide updates as new information becomes available. For more, visit on.in.gov/COVID19.