Indiana Reports First Coronavirus Case, State Health Officials Say It’s Isolated

Mar 6, 2020

Indiana has reported the state’s first presumed case of illness from the new coronavirus.

State Health Commissioner Kris Box says a Marion County adult who recently traveled to Boston is in isolation with COVID-19. She says there are no ongoing risks to the public.

“We have been preparing for this possibility,” Box says. “And I want to stress that this is an isolated case at this time.”

Box says the patient and the hospital took appropriate measures to protect the public

“Because of those steps, the risk of additional exposure and community transmission was decreased and we are taking every precaution to prevent new infections related to this patient,” Box says. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: U.S. Death Toll Now At 14; New Cases In Maryland, Colorado, Pennsylvania

The patient called the Indiana State Department of Health Thursday night and said there was a possibility he was infected. He was told to go to Community Hospital North. 

Once there, he remained in the parking lot until health care staff escorted him in a side door, while wearing protective clothing.He was then examined in a room designed for infectious diseases.

Community Health Network’s Dr. Ramarao Yeleti says no other patients were exposed.

“We were exceedingly cautious in the route he took and had minimal to zero exposure to anybody that did not have protective infectious disease material,” Yeleti says.

The patient’s symptoms are mild. Health officials are investigating to determine if the individual infected others. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still have to confirm the test results. 

Speaking at a news conference Friday morning, Gov. Eric Holcomb says he’s declared a public health emergency in the state. That opens the door to federal funding.

Box urged people who suspect they were exposed to the virus and show symptoms to call their doctor or health department. That will allow medical facilities to prepare and avoid additional exposure.

State and federal health officials continue to point to steps Hoosiers can take to protect themselves, including washing hands, not touching your face and staying home if you’re sick.

This story has been updated.

Contact Darian at dbenson@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @helloimdarian.

Indiana Public Broadcasting's Scott Cameron and Lauren Chapman contributed to this story.