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First case of COVID-19 confirmed in Indiana

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Posted at 8:36 AM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 11:36:56-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana health officials confirmed Friday a case of COVID-19 in Indianapolis.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has declared a public health emergency in Indiana.

The patient is an adult male who recently traveled to Boston for an event, Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said. The man called ahead to the health department and entered Community North Hospital through a side door with health professionals.

His contact with others was minimal to none, Community Health Network Physician Dr. Ram Yeleti said.

The patient is now in self-isolation and was only at the hospital from about 11:30 p.m. Thursday to 2:30 a.m. Friday.

Twelve people have been tested, and another 35 are being monitored for the virus, Box said.

What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China has some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths of noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it may be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.

This story was originally published by Matt McKinney on WRTV in Indianapolis.