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
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
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.
recommends the following ways to prevent both coronavirus and flu
often with soap, for 20 seconds.
touching of eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
contact with people who are sick.
mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing, then washing hands.
disinfecting objects and surfaces.