Wayne County Health Department confirms first case of COVID-19 in local resident

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Wayne County Health Department announced the first presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a resident of Wayne County on Thursday.

The patient is hospitalized. No additional information about the patient will be released because of privacy laws.

“We certainly are not surprised to get the notification of a Wayne County resident testing positive for COVID-19,” said Dr. David Jetmore, who serves as Wayne County health officer.

“We believe, and are setting policies in the belief, that there is an unknown number of people in Wayne County who have the virus and are unable to be tested,” Jetmore said. “Many people are asymptomatic or are experiencing mild symptoms of the virus.”

Christine Stinson, the health department’s executive director, says it is “imperative the public adhere to the policies and the directives that are coming from public health professionals.”

“The isolation policies are in place to mitigate the numbers of Wayne County residents that will contract the virus,” Stinson said. “Most healthy people will experience only mild symptoms but will be highly infectious and will transmit it to someone who will suffer sever symptom and some will die.”

Stinson said those who think they have the virus and are experiencing mild symptoms should conduct themselves as if they do have the virus and self-quarantine.

“That means STAY AT HOME,” Stinson said.

“If you are showing symptoms, even mild symptoms, do not put our community at risk,” Stinson said. “If you need to seek medical treatment, contact the facility before showing up. If you need food or other necessities you should contact a friend or family member and have them drop items at the door, so they are not put at risk of contracting the virus.”

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

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/.

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 6 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 ISDH website at in.gov/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Indiana.

Wayne County Health Department is conducting all business by appointments only. If you need a birth certificate or death certificate, you can do so by going to www.co.wayne.in.us and printing the birth or death certificate application, filling out the information, include a copy of your photo ID, mail it to 100 S. Fifth St., Richmond, IN 47374. You can contact the health department at 765-973-9245.

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