AVILLA, Ind. (WFFT) -- The first Covid-19 Coronavirus death in Noble County was reported Friday at the Sacred Heart Home long-term facility in Avilla.
Dr. Terry Gaff, Noble County's Health Officer, announced multiple cases have been reported at the facility, including the county's first death.
Gaff said no more information about the patients will be released, citing privacy laws.
Gaff says they're working closely with state and federal officials to implement infection control protocols to prevent further spread inside the building.
“We know that people older than 60 with underlying health conditions are most at risk during this pandemic," Gaff said in a statement. "We ask that everyone join in our efforts to protect these vulnerable people by not visiting long-term care facilities, but rather using other options, such as offering residents access to mobile devices to continue virtual contact with loved ones through email or video-call applications.”
An undated announcement on Sacred Heart's website says because of the Coronavirus, the facility has been following protocols by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control.
The protocols include: restricting access to essential personnel; increased surveillance of residents for signs of respiratory symptoms; suspending non-essential group activities and adhering to social distancing guidelines and proper hygiene.
Gaff also released these guidelines for long-term facilities.
• Identify a separate space that is used only for confirmed or presumed COVID-19 patients;
• Limit patient contact to only essential direct care providers;
• Establish a tracking system to monitor and manage infection control activities and residents and staff member who are symptomatic
More on COVID-19:
It is a respiratory illness caused by a novel, or new, coronavirus that has not been previously identified. It is not the same as the type of coronavirus that causes the common cold.
COVID-19 is 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.
Many people who acquire COVID-19 will have mild symptoms, can self-isolate and do not need to be tested. Older individuals and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness.
The best ways to protect yourself are to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay home when you’re sick, cover your cough or sneeze and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.