On March 6, the Indiana State Department of Health confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in a Hoosier with recent travel. On March 16, ISDH reported the first death in Indiana due to the coronavirus.
Department officials announced March 26 that 170 more Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. That brings to 645 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus. Seventeen have died.
There are 13 cases in Franklin County and 11 in Ripley now, up from seven each the day before.
A total of 4,651 tests have been reported to ISDH to date, up from 3,356 on Wednesday and 2,931 on Monday.
Marion County had the most new cases, at 67, while Hamilton, Johnson and Lake counties each had 12. The complete list of counties with cases is included in the ISDH COVID-19 dashboard at coronavirus.in.gov, which will be updated daily at 10 a.m. Cases are listed by county of residence. Private lab reporting may be delayed and will be reflected in the map and count when results are received at ISDH.
The ISDH call center for health care providers and the public who have concerns about the disease is now staffed 24/7 at 877-826-0011.
The first suspected COVID-19 related death of a Franklin County citizen was announced by Franklin County health officials March 25. The male in his 60s had been in the care of doctors at an Indiana hospital since March 13, reported Franklin County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jason Lovins, the county’s COVID-19 public information officer. No further information about the patient was released due to privacy laws.
Officials emphasized the importance of all citizens doing their part to slow the virus’ spread and protect those in our community who might be more vulnerable. Visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s dashboard for more information, including frequently asked questions.
The Franklin County Board of Commissioners declared a level orange travel watch in conjunction with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order, which took effect March 25 at midnight.
A level orange travel watch means that conditions are threatening to the public’s safety. During the watch, only essential travel, such as obtaining groceries/food, necessary medical supplies/prescriptions, medical appointments, to and from work or emergency situations, is recommended.
The level orange travel watch went into effect March 25 at 6 p.m. Including Franklin County, 22 Indiana counties are under a travel advisory. See the map at https://www.in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory/.
On March 24, Margaret Mary Health leaders received confirmation of a few providers and team members who tested positive for COVID-19. Patients who were in close contact with these individuals at the initial onset of their symptoms have been notified of their potential exposure.
Sheri Brougher, MMH director of marketing and business development, said, “We are following CDC and health department guidelines for quarantine. Due to patient privacy, we cannot share any patient detail, including names or current health status. We take very seriously our commitment to protecting patient privacy and safety, and this includes all patients, providers and team members receiving care at Margaret Mary.
“Please be assured that being exposed does not guarantee an individual will develop symptoms or contract the virus. However, we have asked those patients contacted to take a few precautions to protect themselves and their families.”
President and CEO Tim Putnam noted, “We understand how worried our patients may be. However, please know we have implemented many strategies given the current pandemic to ensure the health and safety of our patients, like frequent hand washing, using disinfecting wipes on all surfaces between patients, and deep cleaning our offices at the end of each day. Our patients’ health and safety are our highest priority, as are the health and safety of our staff.”
Based on current call volumes, Margaret Mary Health’s COVID-19 Hotline hours have been adjusted to 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Community members are encouraged to call the hotline for information about symptoms, help determining when and where to seek medical treatment, assistance understanding testing guidelines and advice on isolation. To reach the hotline, call 812-933-5556.
MMH has asked citizens for help. “The global demand for personal protective equipment, like face masks, has created a severe shortage across the globe. That’s why Margaret Mary Health is requesting anyone with a sewing machine and the ability to sew to help make cloth face masks for our patients and their families,” explained Brougher. Instructions for making masks and pandemic updates can be found at mmhealth.org/covid-19.
For donation dropoffs, containers are placed outside these locations: Miss Shannon’s Music Studio, 121 Shopping Village, Suite A, Batesville; The Quilter’s Nook, 82 Hill St., Versailles, MMH main campus lobby entrance; and MMH centers in Brookville and Osgood. For volunteers who have already made face masks that don’t follow the specifications outlined on the website, those donations are still appreciated. Questions can be emailed to Mary Dickey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ripley County Health Department has received confirmation of multiple county residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. Administrator Holley Rose said March 25, “It is important to note that some of these patients have recovered while others are terminally ill.”
Dr. David Welsh, the Ripley County health officer, was notified of the first two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the county March 23. It is important to note that neither of the patients are over 60 and took the critical action of self-isolating once they became symptomatic.
Welsh has set forth guidance on how to stay healthy and protect the public.
What happens when someone is found positive for COVID-19? Those individuals must follow health instructions provided from their health care provider based on their circumstance.
If you have been contacted that you or an immediate family member has been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive, it is important for your family to remain in self-isolation for 14 days after the date given. During these two weeks, watch for COVID-19 symptoms: cough, aches, sore throat, chills, fatigue, headaches, nausea or fever. Not all symptoms must be present to have the virus.
If a person becomes symptomatic, it is important to remain in self-isolation and contact your primary care physician unless immediate medical attention is needed. If it is a life-threatening emergency, and you contact 911, immediately upon calling notify the 911 dispatcher of your case. Similarly, in the instance of an essential service required at your place of residence during this quarantine period, notify the service company of your status.
New cases are coming in daily. The Ripley County Health Department will continue to provide updates to the community. RCHD is working with local and state officials to ensure that patients’s contacts are identified and monitored and that all infection control protocols are being followed.
The department would like to remind all citizens to practice public health precautions of social distancing, avoid mass gatherings, only go out for essential travel and wash hands frequently.
As a reminder, COVID-19 is not isolated to one specific jurisdiction and is prevalent throughout the entire county, state, nation and globally.
For a continuous update on confirmed patients, please refer to the RCHD Facebook page, website and Twitter page. The Ripley County Health Department will be pinning a post that will be ongoing with public information.
Visit the Ripley County Health Department website at https://www.ripleyhealth.com/covid-19, Indiana State Department of Health website and CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html for the most up-to-date information.