Chesterton Tribune



Possible coronavirus patient in isolation in Porter County

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A person “traveling through Porter County” on Sunday has been placed in isolation after local health officials determined that he or she may “potentially” be infected with the novel coronavirus first reported in December in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Blood and other lab work conducted by the Porter County Health Department (PCHD) has been forwarded to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC)--via the Indiana State Health Department--and PCHD Administrator Letty Zepeda told the Chesterton Tribune this morning that final diagnosis should be complete in the next 24 to 36 hours.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the individual has been placed in isolation and is currently under active medical supervision,” PCHD said in a statement released late on Tuesday. “In the interim, all applicable protocols have been implemented.”

Zepeda declined to identify the patient as either male or female, a U.S. citizen or a foreign national, or as young or old, citing not only HIPPA restrictions but also certain unknowns at the moment. “A lot of information is still under investigation,” she said.

Zepeda said that the patient may--“possibly”--have sought treatment initially at a public health clinic for flu-like symptoms but was unable to say what prompted medical personnel there to believe that novel coronavirus could be in play. Zepeda did not know where the patient was coming from or going to but did confirm that he or she was traveling by passenger vehicle and not by train or some other form of public transportation.

Zepeda, echoing the CDC, hastened to add that the immediate health risk from novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to the general American public is currently considered “low,” and that absolutely the best way to keep that risk low is the same way to keep the risk from influenza low. “We really want the media to emphasize that the best way to stay healthy is to practice good hygiene,” Zepeda said. “Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands constantly. Just do the things we should be doing on a regular basis. Coronavirus is just like influenza. They share many of the same symptoms and it’s hard to tell which is which.

According to PCHD’s website, novel coronavirus is a newly discovered respiratory virus that first reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Its symptoms mirror those of influenza: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It’s spread through the air by coughing and sneezing; by close contact with an infected person, say, by touching or shaking hands; by touching an object infected by the virus, then transferring the virus to mouth, nose, or eyes before washing hands; and rarely by fecal contamination.

PCHD strongly recommends the following ways to prevent both coronavirus and flu infection:

--Washing hands often with soap, for 20 seconds.

--Avoiding the touching of eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

--Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

--Covering the mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing, then washing hands.

--Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces.


Posted 1/29/2020




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