4 new COVID-19 cases in Indiana, state now has 10 cases

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Four more people in Indiana have been sickened by the coronavirus, boosting the state’s tally to 10 cases, with three of the new cases in the same suburban Indianapolis county, health officials said Wednesday.

Johnson County, just south of Indianapolis, has three presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the virus — and north-central Indiana’s Howard County has one, the state Department of Health said.

Wednesday’s update by the state agency shows that seven Indiana counties now have patients with COVID-19, with Adams, Boone, Hendricks, Marion and Noble counties the other counties reporting cases.

With the exception of Hendricks County, which has two cases, and Johnson County’s three cases, the other counties had one case each. The state Department of Health said 43 people in Indiana have been tested for the virus, either by that agency or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Indiana’s growing number of cases since the first one was reported last Friday in Marion County prompted Indiana and Purdue universities to announce Tuesday the suspension of classroom teaching on all campuses following spring break. Although the campuses will be open following the break, students have the option to return to campus or not.

And health officials in Marion County, home of Indianapolis, on Wednesday urged seniors with chronic medical ailments such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease to reconsider before attending any large public gatherings, including sporting events and festivals.

For most, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and a cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.

According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness get better in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have recovered.

The Marion County Public Health Department also advised seniors to try to put at least six feet (1.8 meters) of distance between themselves and other people to further reduce their risk of being exposed to the virus.

Indiana’s presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 include an elementary school student in the Hendricks County community of Avon, just west of Indianapolis. That sickened Avon student — the state’s only case not in an adult — led the local school district to cancel classes and all school-related activities until April 6.

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