Wayne County Health Department Confirms 1st COVID-19 Death

April 6, 2020

The Wayne County Department of Health announced today the first death from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) of a resident of Wayne County. The individual was an adult male from Wayne County.

“It is tragic whenever there is a loss of life. This is not the kind of news we ever want to announce. We are expecting to continue to see an increase in numbers of positive cases and deaths as this continues. We need to redouble our efforts in keeping each other safe” explained Dr. David Jetmore, the Wayne County Health Officer. “This threat is real. The consequences of our action or inactions as they may be are real. We all have the ability to make a difference and we all have the responsibility to do so,” said Matthew Cain, Director of the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency.

The adult from Wayne County died Sunday evening at Reid Hospital. The person, who was over age 60, had been hospitalized as a COVID-19 patient. No further information about the patient will be released due to privacy laws.

The Wayne County Health Department has received a total of twelve (12) presumptive positive cases among Wayne County Residents. “There has been a total of 101 residents in Wayne County tested. We all know we are not able to have everyone that needs a test the ability to be tested. That is frustrating for everyone,” continued Dr. Jetmore.

COVID-19 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. Remember, frequently touched surfaces could include door handles, counter tops, pump handles at gas stations, pay key pads at stores and money.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Wayne County Health department do recommend all people wear a facemask when in public. This is a departure from recommendations made in the past. “We still feel the stay at home order is the best thing we can do to mitigate the number of positive cases and deaths due to the COVID-19 epidemic. However, since it is unclear when a patient is shedding the virus and who could be asymptomatic, we all need to wear masks to protect each other,” claimed Christine Stinson, the Executive Director of the Wayne County Health Department.

If you have questions or would like more information regarding COVID-19 please call the Wayne County Health Department at 765-973-9245.

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