April 2020 The Hamilton County Health Department, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), has confirmed the first four fatal cases of COVID-19 of county residents. The health department will not be providing any further information on these cases out of respect for the family’s privacy. The Hamilton County Health Department will continue to work with CDC, ISDH, the Hamilton County Coroner, and county partners to safeguard the residents of Hamilton County. These efforts include conducting risk assessments with partners, educating the public, and providing recommendations on mitigation strategies. Dr. Charles Harris, Hamilton County Health Officer, stated; “Loss of life is always unfortunate, we will continue to make every effort possible to minimize the risk to the public. Please follow the directives of local, state, and federal officials. Unless it is absolutely necessary, travel should be limited, the best way to combat COVID-19 is to practice good social distancing and use good hygiene and cleaning practices .” Symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Like influenza, human coronaviruses 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. The best way to protect yourself from any respiratory illness, including the flu, 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. For additional information about novel coronavirus, visit https://www.in.gov/isdh/28470.htm.