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Health Department: Low-risk exposure of COVID-19 at Home and Garden Show

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Wednesday, the Allen County Department of Health is addressing the public at 4:45 p.m. of a low-risk exposure to a presumptive positive COVID-19 case during the Fort Wayne Home and Garden Show.

Health officials learned Wednesday an individual who has since received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis was at the annual garden show on February 27.

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Officials say the public risk from this exposure is very low.

“With the novel coronavirus COVID-19 declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization today, low-risk exposures like this will likely occur throughout the community for the next several months. Community members should take precautions collectively to protect themselves and others by washing hands frequently, monitoring themselves for symptoms and avoiding work and public gatherings when sick.”

Dr. Deb McMahan, Allen County Health Commissioner

Randy Brown, Memorial Coliseum general manager, said his staff has been utilizing increased cleaning efforts. That includes increasing the amount of hand sanitizer stations.

Brown goes on to say with the COVID-19 incubation period of 14 days and the average person exhibiting symptoms by day 5, anyone infected from this exposure would likely already be showing symptoms. 

However, out of an abundance of caution with the incubation period ending, March 12, visitors to the show on February 27 should watch for symptoms for the next 24 hours.

Health officials recommend the following who visited the show on February 27:

  • Go about routine activities like working or going to school, but through March 12 watch for the development of symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.
  • Take your temperature twice a day and track the results through March 12. If you develop a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher AND a cough, call your family doctor who will determine your best course of action. DO NOT go to an emergency room unless you are also having chest pain and/or shortness of breath or other emergent issues.
  • When you call the doctor, be prepared with the date you think you were exposed, your symptoms, any chronic health problems you may have (like heart or lung disease, diabetes, etc.) and have a list of your medications readily available. If you work in a setting with many people or vulnerable populations like the sick or elderly, please let your provider know. 

Department officials want to remind the public as cases continue to be confirmed throughout the state, preparation (and not panic) is important. 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 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.
  • Please practice extra precautions if you work in facilities that would expose a high number of immune-compromised or highly-susceptible populations, such as long-term care facilities, congregate living situations or correctional facilities.

Tune in to tonight's newscasts for full coverage on this breaking news and click here for more of our previous COVID-19 coverage.

Emilia Miles

Emilia Miles joined Fort Wayne’s NBC in September 2019 as a Social Media and Digital Content Manager. Emilia also serves as a producer. She’s a Fort Wayne native and graduated from Indiana University.

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