Health

Indiana has confirmed its first case of coronavirus. Gov. Eric Holcomb has declared a state of emergency, but health officials stressed there was no threat to public health from the confirmed case.

“The question has never been if Indiana would get a case, but when we would see one,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box. “We have been preparing for this possibility, and I want to stress that this is an isolated case at this time.”

The patient, an adult Marion County resident, returned from a trip to Boston on March 4th. They had been working as a contractor associated with a conference, health officials said. The patient is in stable condition and is currently in self-isolation outside of a hospital setting.

The patient self-reported to the Indiana State Department of Health last night, and was sent to Community Hospital North in Indianapolis. Healthcare providers wearing protective gear met the patient in the parking lot and brought them into the hospital through a side door. There was “minimal to zero” exposure to anyone not wearing protective gear, said Dr. Rami Leti of Community Health Network.

The patient was showing mild symptoms: sore throat, a low grade temperature and a cough.

“If you are concerned that you’ve been exposed, and you have the associated symptoms, please call first,” said Dr. Robin Ledger, the Chief Medical Officer for the Community Health Network. “And again, keep we can’t say it enough, keep washing your hands, don’t hug right now. And let’s take care of each other.”

Holcomb said he had declared the state of emergency to ensure Indiana “is in the absolute best position to get the federal funding necessary to respond step by step.”

There are currently no confirmed cases in Kentucky. Indiana, Illinois and Tennessee have all confirmed cases.

In a press conference on Thursday, Kentucky’s public health commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said he expects the virus to be detected in the commonwealth.

“As of now, we have no confirmed cases in Kentucky. I think we can anticipate that will change at some point,” Stack said.

Eleanor Klibanoff covered Rust Belt decline and revival in Pennsylvania. She also worked for NPR and attended the George Washington University.