State health officials on Friday announced that a person in Indiana had tested positive for COVID-19, which is caused by a novel coronavirus that first took hold in China.
The Indiana State Department of Health has released the following information about human coronaviruses—a family of viruses that cause a number of illnesses. They 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, 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.
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A face mask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms to protect others from the risk of infection.
The health department has a list of frequently asked questions at https://on.in.gov/COVID19.