Putnam County has first confirmed case of COVID-19

Sunday, March 22, 2020 ~ Updated 8:43 PM

Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced Sunday the first presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Putnam County.

The patient is self-isolating at home. No additional information about the patient was released due to privacy laws.

PCHD is working closely with local and state officials to ensure that contacts of the patient are identified and monitored and that all infection control protocols are being followed.

When ISDH released its Monday update on COVID-19 data, the number of local cases remained at one.

Dr. Robert A. Heavin, Health Officer for Putnam County, wished to ensure the community that the Putnam County Health Department (PCHD) is actively following all ISDH and CDC guidelines to protect and educate during this public health emergency.

“My staff’s goal is to keep our community healthy and well informed to prevent unnecessary panic,” Heavin said. “Old-fashioned hand washing is the first line of defense in prevention, along with sanitizing surfaces and social distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from others).

“As a community we will all need to work together to get through this difficult time.”

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb issued a public health emergency declaration that calls on state agencies to continue their diligence and cooperation in responding to COVID-19 and ensures that Indiana can seek funding to control and stop the spread of coronavirus. The declaration is posted at www.in.gov/.

ISDH reported there were 76 new positive cases on Saturday and 58 more on Sunday, bringing the statewide number to 258. In adjacent counties, there have been 12 positive cases in Hendricks County, three in Morgan and two in Owen. Marion County has by far the most positive cases with 110.

As of Monday afternoon, there had been a total of seven deaths since the beginning of the outbreak -- three in Marion County and one each in Delaware, Johnson and Scott counties.

Statewide, 1,960 people had been tested for the virus as of 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

The governor has also issued additional steps to protect the public from COVID-19.

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 (within six feet) 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.

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) will provide updates as new information becomes available. Visit the Putnam County Health Department website at www.putnamhealthindiana.org for more information and the website links to ISDH and CDC on COVID-19 in Indiana.

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  • Thank you, Dr. Heavin.

    -- Posted by Queen53 on Sun, Mar 22, 2020, at 12:33 PM
  • How are they making sure of the person’s contacts if we don’t know a little information, such as place of employment? This would at least ease the mind of hundreds of employees that are working in factories.

    -- Posted by townofroachdale on Tue, Mar 24, 2020, at 6:45 AM
  • *

    townofroachdale - I would imagine that the place of employment has already been notified...so if you don't know, you didn't work with them.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Tue, Mar 24, 2020, at 8:58 AM
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