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The Rush County Health Department, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), has confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus in a county resident. The patient is currently hospitalized.

The county is working closely with the state health department to identify any close contacts of the patient who might have been exposed to ensure that appropriate precautions are taken in accordance with the latest CDC guidance. At this time, the risk to the public is believed to be low.

Symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Like influenza human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

• Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing

• Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands

• Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands; and

• Rarely, fecal contamination

The best way to protect yourself from any respiratory illness, including the flu is to:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick

• Stay home when you are sick

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

For additional information about novel coronavirus, visit https://www.in.gov/isdh/28470.htm.

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