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Officials: COVID-19 patient attended Home and Garden Show, but risk to others low

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - An individual diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus attended the recent Fort Wayne Home and Garden Show, creating what local health officials are calling a "low-risk exposure" situation.

The patient was among the first in the state to return a "presumptive positive" test result -- meaning the person is strongly believed to have contracted the virus.

RELATED: Parkview Health offering free COVID-19 phone screening

The individual spent "a limited amount of time" at the show at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 27, the Allen County Health Department said late Wednesday afternoon.

“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.” said Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deb McMahan. “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.”

Memorial Coliseum general manager Randy Brown said his staff has been utilizing increased cleaning efforts and provided hand sanitizer stations at events since COVID-19 became more widespread issue earlier this year. People who have attended events at the Coliseum since Feb. 27 are not at increased risk of exposure.

Incubation for COVID-19 can run 14 days, and symptoms typically show up by Day 5. Health officials say it is most likely anyone infected from this particular exposure would already be exhibiting those symptoms.

The official incubation period in this particular case ends Thursday.

The Department recommends the following to February 27 Fort Wayne Home and Garden Show visitors:

  • 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 issue.
  • 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. 

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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