A Howard County resident died today from COVID-19, marking the first death for the county and the 13th for the state. 

Howard County Health Officer Dr. Don Zent expressed his condolences. 

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of the Howard County resident who lost their life as a result of COVID-19,” said Zent. “It is imperative the community continues to abide by the CDC guidelines in order to protect our most vulnerable residents and allow the healthcare community to maximize their efforts against this new threat.”

The Howard County resident was 60 years old and had been hospitalized for COVID-19. This patient also had underlying health conditions. No further information will be released concerning the patient or case, according to the health department.

The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

Individuals at high risk for adverse health effects of COVID-19 are people who are over 60 years of age and have chronic medical problems or are immune compromised.

Coronaviruses are often spread from an infected person through:

• Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing or sneezing

• Close personal contact such as shaking hands or touching

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• Touching a surface that has been contaminated with the virus, then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes before washing your hands

• Rarely can be spread through fecal contamination

In healthy adults and youth, getting the COVID-19 virus will result in mild symptoms and those people can self-isolate without the need to be tested. Individuals at high risk for severe illness should do the following to protect themselves:

• Stay home and follow social distancing guidelines

• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; if soap is unavailable use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

• Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without first washing your hands

• Avoid close contact with those who are sick

• Cover your cough or sneeze either with a tissue and discard after or with the crook of your arm

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched hard surfaces