As concerns about coronavirus continue to escalate across the country, the Tippecanoe County Health Department issued a public health alert Wednesday. County Health Officer Jeremy Adler advised residents against immediately heading to the emergency room if they’re concerned about possible coronavirus symptoms.
“We are asking the public to avoid visiting emergency departments unless you have significant symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and/or other risk factors for coronavirus,” Adler says.
Adler said while individuals exhibiting severe symptoms should go to the emergency room, those with milder symptoms should contact their physician or go to an urgent care facility.
“Coronavirus is thought to be spread mainly between people in close contact, within six feet of one another, when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” Adler said.
Adler confirmed some Tippecanoe County residents have already been tested for the virus, a number he said is in the “single digits.” The county currently doesn’t have coronavirus test kits, so the results from patient swabs are being sent to the Indiana State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for analysis.
Adler said if the coronavirus spreads more widely, county residents would be advised to quarantine in their homes, when possible. He also stressed taking the necessary steps to ward off infection: wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, don’t touch your face, stay home when you’re sick, and avoid close physical contact with those who are ill.
“We are asking that the public trust medical professionals and not social media,” Adler said.
There are currently no known infections in the county.