STARKE COUNTY— Today, Monday, March 23, the Starke County Health Department announced the first presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Starke County.

Starke County Health Department is working closely with local and state officials to ensure that contacts of the patient are identified and monitored and that all infection control protocols are being followed. 

The patient is self isolating at home. No additional information about the patient will be released due to privacy laws. 

Health Department officials warn that coronaviruses are 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 and then touching you mouth, eyes, or nose without washing your hands and in rare cases, through fecal contamination. 

They add that the best way to protect yourself from any respiratory illness is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands and avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with people who are ill. People should also stay home when they’re sick and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that people who are all wear a facemark to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemark should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms in order to protect others from the risk of infection. 

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb issued a public health emergency declaration that calls on state agencies to continue their diligence and cooperation in responding to COVID-19 and ensures that Indiana can seek funding to control and stop the spread of coronavirus. The declaration is posted on

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