Newsroom

Date: 5/12/2014

Statement from Community Hospital

MERS UPDATE
May 12, 2014

The first patient in the U.S. diagnosed with Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), was released from Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana, on Friday, May 9. Multiple tests conducted by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were negative for the presence of the MERS-CoV infection in this patient. Health officials have released the patient from isolation and he is cleared to travel, if necessary.

All Community Hospital employees who had direct contact with this patient have a confirmed second negative test for MERS, and none have evidence of this infection. These employees are cleared to return to work and discontinue home isolation.

On April 24, this patient traveled by air from Saudi Arabia to London, then to Chicago, arrived at O’Hare Airport and traveled by bus to Highland, Indiana. The CDC and ISDH have contacted the vast majority of passengers on the flights and the bus; none of them are symptomatic. There has been no evidence of community-level transmission of this virus, such as from casual contact.

“The public can be reassured that there is no risk to the community, as there have been no reported cases of people without symptoms transmitting this virus to another person,” said Alan Kumar, M.D., chief medical information officer, Community Hospital.

To keep you and your family healthy by reducing your risk of disease, follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tips below:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.

# # #

MERS UPDATE
May 9, 2014

MERS PATIENT RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL
Patient Feeling Better and Tested Negative for MERS

INDIANAPOLIS - The individual who was being treated for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was released from Community Hospital in Munster today, health officials say. The patient is considered to be fully recovered and has been cleared by health officials to come off of isolation and may travel, if necessary.

“The patient has tested negative for MERS, is no longer symptomatic and poses no threat to the community,” said Dr. Alan Kumar, chief medical information officer, Community Hospital in Munster. “Community Hospital finalized its discharge plan with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana State Department of Health, and the patient was discharged from the hospital. We are proud of our medical staff for recognizing and responding quickly to this incident, and we wish to thank the CDC and the ISDH for their assistance and collaboration.”

Multiple tests done at different times by the Indiana State Laboratory and CDC were negative for the presence of ongoing MERS-CoV infection in the patient. No additional cases of MERS have been identified.

“The hospital and the State Health Department are taking every precaution as the patient is released,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner William C. VanNess II, M.D. “This case demonstrates that any infectious disease in the world is only a plane ride away. I encourage all of our healthcare providers to remain vigilant in looking for any future cases.”

On April 24, the patient traveled from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to London then to Chicago by air, arrived at O’Hare Airport and traveled by bus to the Highland, Indiana area. The CDC and state health departments have contacted the vast majority of passengers on the flights and the bus; none of them are symptomatic. There has been no evidence of community-level transmission of this virus, such as from casual contact.

Hospital staff who had direct contact with the patient continue to remain off-duty and in temporary home isolation and are being closely monitored for symptoms. These staff members will be allowed to return to work following the incubation period and confirmed negative laboratory results.

The Indiana State Department of Health has closed the MERS hotline, as calls have slowed down significantly.

“This case of MERS in Indiana vividly demonstrates the critical role of public health in the community,” said Dr. VanNess. “I’m especially proud of our staff at the Indiana State Department of Health, including our epidemiologists, and our public affairs and State Laboratory teams for working around the clock to confirm this disease, track it, and communicate with Hoosiers and the world about the situation as it has progressed.”

For more information, please visit the websites below.

- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome:
http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/index.html
- About Coronavirus:
http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/about/index.html
- Frequently Asked MERS Questions and Answers:
http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/faq.html
- Indiana State Department of Health
http://www.StateHealth.in.gov


For important health updates, follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.



# # #


MERS UPDATE
May 8, 2014

The first patient in the U.S. diagnosed with Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), is in good condition and continues to improve each day. Physicians involved in the patient’s care at Community Hospital, Munster, IN continue the discharge planning process in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). The patient is expected to be released to home isolation soon where he will remain until cleared by the ISDH and CDC as no longer an infectious risk to the public.

Hospital employees who had direct contact with the patient remain off-duty in temporary home isolation and are being closely monitored daily for symptoms of the virus. These employees have all tested negative for MERS, and none have evidence of this infection. Following the end of the employees’ incubation period, laboratory testing will occur to confirm a second negative test for MERS. Once the negative test is confirmed, employees will be cleared to return to work and discontinue home isolation.

The Centers for Disease Control and the Indiana State Department of Health have commended Community Hospital for its quick actions to identify MERS and isolate the patient appropriately. The hospital continues to work with the CDC and ISDH to closely monitor the situation and prevent the spread of the virus.

For questions about MERS, call the Indiana State Department of Health hotline at 1-877-826-0011, which is being answered daily, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT. A voicemail system is available for callers to leave a message during off hours. All calls will be returned the following day.

To keep you and your family healthy by reducing your risk of disease, follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tips below:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.

# # #

MERS UPDATE
May 7, 2014

The patient diagnosed with the first U.S. case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), continues to improve each day and is in good condition. Discharge planning for the patient continues and he is expected to be released to home isolation soon. He will remain in home isolation until he is cleared by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as no longer an infectious risk to the public.

“During the patient’s stay in the hospital, other patients or visitors were not at risk because the patient was in a private setting at all times,” said Don Fesko, Community Hospital CEO. “The MERS virus is believed to require very close contact for transmission.”

The Centers for Disease Control and the Indiana State Department of Health have commended Community Hospital for its quick actions to identify MERS and isolate the patient. In an abundance of caution, employees who had direct contact with the patient remain off-duty in temporary home isolation and are being closely monitored for symptoms. These employees have tested negative for MERS, and the hospital continues with daily monitoring for symptoms. Following the end of the employees’ incubation period, employees will be undergoing testing to confirm a second negative test for MERS. Once the negative test is confirmed, employees will be cleared to return to work and discontinue home isolation.

“Our community can be reassured that there is no risk to the community at large as there have been no reported cases of people without symptoms transmitting this virus to another person,” said Alan Kumar, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer, Community Hospital.

For questions about MERS, call the Indiana State Department of Health hotline at 1-877-826-0011, which is being answered daily, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT. A voicemail system is available for callers to leave a message during off hours. All calls will be returned the following day.

To keep you and your family healthy by reducing your risk of disease, follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tips below:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.


# # #


MERS UPDATE
MAY 6, 2014

The patient diagnosed with the first U.S. case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), continues to improve and is listed in good condition. The hospital has begun working on discharge plans for the patient, who is expected to be released to home isolation in the coming days. He will remain in home isolation until he is cleared by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as no longer an infectious risk to the public.

“Regarding the affected patient, at no time during his stay in the hospital were any other patients or visitors at risk because he was in a private setting at all times and the MERS virus is believed to require very close contact for transmission,” said Don Fesko, Community Hospital CEO.

The Centers for Disease Control and the Indiana State Department of Health have commended Community Hospital for its quick actions to identify MERS and isolate the patient, who did not have contact with any other patients or visitors prior to that time. As a precaution, employees who had direct contact with the patient remain off-duty and in temporary home isolation and are being closely monitored for symptoms. These employees have tested negative for MERS, and the hospital continues with daily monitoring. There have been no reported cases of people without symptoms transmitting this virus. The affected employees’ incubation period ends Sunday, May 11, and they will be tested shortly thereafter to confirm a second negative test prior to being cleared to return to work.

Additionally, laboratory tests are negative for the patient’s close family contacts.

For questions about MERS, call the Indiana State Department of Health hotline at 1-877-826-0011, which is being answered daily, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT. A voicemail system is available for callers to leave a message during off hours. All calls will be returned the following day.

# # #

SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014

MERS patient remains in good condition;
Governor, Community Hospital, coordinating health agencies to host media briefing

The first identified U.S. case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was diagnosed last week at Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana. The patient, who remains hospitalized in isolation, is in good condition and has shown improvement each day. Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) arrived at the hospital over the weekend and are assisting with coordination. As of today, Sunday, May 4, no other cases of MERS have been identified in the U.S.

Staff members at the hospital who had direct contact with the patient prior to the patient being placed in full isolation were taken off duty and placed in temporary home isolation. Those individuals are being closely monitored for any signs or symptoms of the virus and will be allowed to return to work once the incubation period is over and they have confirmed negative laboratory results. Symptoms of MERS may take up to 14 days to occur. There have been no reported cases of people without symptoms transmitting this virus, and we continue with daily monitoring of the staff.

“We are pleased the patient is improving and no other cases have been identified at this time,” said Don Fesko, Community Hospital CEO. “The safety of our patients and staff remains our top priority, and we are following every recommendation provided by the CDC and Indiana State Department of Health.”

Representatives from coordinating agencies and organizations will brief the media on Monday, May 5.

WHEN: Monday, May 5, 10 a.m. CST

WHERE: Community Hospital

WHO: The following representatives will provide updates and answer questions:

- Mike Pence, Governor, State of Indiana
- William VanNess II, M.D., Indiana State Health Commissioner
- Daniel Feikin, M.D., Team Lead — Medical Epidemiologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Don Fesko, CEO, Community Hospital
- Alan Kumar, Chief Medical Information Officer, Community Hospital

MORE INFORMATION: For questions about MERS, please call the Indiana State Department of Health hotline at 1-877-826-0011, which is being answered daily, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT. A voicemail system is available for callers to leave a message during off hours. All calls will be returned the following day.

# # #

SATURDAY, MAY 3, 2014

NO ADDITIONAL CASES OF MERS IDENTIFIED AT THIS TIME
Patient is Continuing to Improve

The first identified U.S. case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was diagnosed this week at Community Hospital, Munster, Indiana. The patient, whose name is being kept confidential, remains hospitalized in good condition and is improving each day. As of today, no other cases of MERS have been identified.

“We are very pleased the patient is improving and no other cases have been identified at this time,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess II, M.D. “The individual has received excellent care while at Community Hospital in Munster. The swift diagnosis and precautionary measures taken have undoubtedly greatly helped reduce the risk of this potentially serious virus spreading.”

The Indiana State Department of Health is working with the hospital, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others to monitor the situation and prevent the spread of the virus. Representatives from the CDC arrived in Indianapolis yesterday to assist and arrived at the hospital this morning.

Since symptoms of MERS may take up to 14 days to occur, staff members at the hospital who had direct contact with the patient prior to the patient being placed in full isolation have been taken off duty and placed in temporary home isolation. Those individuals are being closely monitored for any signs or symptoms of the virus and will be allowed to return to work once the incubation period is over and they have confirmed negative laboratory results. There have been no reported cases of people without symptoms transmitting this virus.

“The patient is in full isolation and presents no risk to patients, staff or the general community,” said Don Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital in Munster. “We are thoroughly prepared to handle respiratory infections. We continue to work closely with the CDC and State Health Department and are following every recommendation. Safety is our top priority.”

For questions about MERS, please call the Indiana State Department of Health hotline at 1-877-826-0011, which is being answered daily, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT. A voicemail system is available for callers to leave a message during off hours. All calls will be returned first thing the following morning.

To keep you and your family healthy by reducing your risk of disease, follow CDC’s tips below:

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.

For more information, please visit the websites below.

- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome:
http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/index.html
- About Coronavirus:
http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/about/index.html
- Frequently Asked MERS Questions and Answers:
http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/faq.html
- Indiana State Department of Health
http://www.StateHealth.in.gov


For important health updates, follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.


FOR THE NEWS MEDIA:
ISDH CONTACT: Amy Reel
(317) 431-3792
areel@isdh.in.gov

HOSPITAL CONTACT: Andrea Farmer
(317) 691-1366
andrea.farmer@borshoff.biz

###

FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014

Today, May 2, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) conducted a joint press briefing to announce the first confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the United States. As just announced by the ISDH, the patient is being treated at Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana. In light of federal privacy regulations, we can only disclose that the patient is in good condition. We are maintaining appropriate isolation protocols for the protection of health care staff.

Community Hospital recognized the possibility of the MERS infection and acted quickly to institute isolation protocols to contain the possible spread of the virus. Community Hospital has been working cooperatively with the CDC and ISDH regarding tracking of patient family members and monitoring of exposed health care workers. This patient was not out in the local community and, therefore, any public exposure was minimal.

Again, this disease requires close contact for transmission, and the patient’s activities in the United States have been very limited and thus widespread cases are not expected. However, in an abundance of caution, the exposed family members and health care workers will be monitored daily throughout the 14-day incubation period to watch for the development of any signs or symptoms of MERS-CoV. Since there is limited data regarding MERS-CoV, and because this is the first confirmed case in the United States, Community Hospital will be a data surveillance site for the CDC.

As noted by the Indiana Governor’s Office and the ISDH, Community Hospital recognized and identified this rare disease and acted quickly to contain the situation and protect the public.

For more information about MERS-CoV, please visit: http://www.in.gov/isdh/25796.htm

FOR THE PUBLIC:
If you have general questions regarding MERS, please call the Indiana State Department of Health hotline at 1-877-826-0011 which is being answered daily, 8 AM to 4:30 PM, EST. Messages can be left which will be answered the next day.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms including cough, shortness of breath and fever, and recently traveled to Saudi Arabia or United Arab Emirates in the past 14 days or traveled on a plane from London to Chicago or on a bus from O’Hare to Highland, IN, on Thursday, April 24, please contact your health care provider.

FOR THE NEWS MEDIA:
For any media requests or inquiries, please call 1-317-631-6400.
Andrea 317-691-1366
Jennifer 317-698-8228

For media relations at the Indiana State Department of Health, please call 1-317-431-3792.