A Frisco man who recently traveled to the Silicon Valley area of California has a "presumptive positive" case of the new coronavirus, making him the first person in Texas known to have potentially contracted the virus within the U.S., health officials said Monday.
Collin County Judge Chris Hill said the man developed flu-like symptoms when he returned. He visited the doctor but was tested only for the flu, Hill said.
"[It] was not an international trip to one of the affected areas so wouldn't be a trip that we would generally think of as a problem," Hill said.
Hill said the man returned to the doctor late last week and was tested for coronavirus and advised to self-quarantine.
The positive result was returned Sunday night, Hill said.
The man is in his late 30s and is in stable condition, Collin County Health Care Services officials said in a statement. He and his family are self-quarantined at home while additional testing is done.
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"CCHCS is also monitoring the man’s family, setting up any needed tests, and working to identify any contacts who may have been exposed while he was infectious," the statement said. "Anyone found to have had close contact to the patient will be contacted directly by county health care staff."
On Monday afternoon, Frisco Independent School District officials confirmed the man is a parent of a child at Polly Tadlock Elementary School. County officials confirmed he has two children at the school.
"It has come to our attention that an individual in our Tadlock parent community has tested positive for COVID-19," Frisco ISD said in a letter to parents Monday. "Over 1 million test kits have been sent to state health departments around the country and we fully expect to see the number of positive COVID-19 cases dramatically rise in the coming weeks. Frisco ISD is currently working with the Collin County Health Department and Denton County Public Health on additional steps to help contain further exposure to our community for when our students return to school from spring break. We encourage our families to keep children at home when they are sick or experiencing a fever."
Collin County officials said the risk of the virus transmitting remains low.
Judge Hill expected results of the re-test to be returned Tuesday.
State health officials say they are working with the county to investigate the case.
The Collin County Health Department is responsible for essentially re-tracing the patient’s steps.
“They are working right now with this patient in terms of contacts, in terms of travel, where they’ve been. They have epidemiologists on staff, that’s what they do in tracking surveillance of this type of case,” said Mark Piland, Frisco’s Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator.
Piland showed NBC 5 the city’s emergency operations center which is monitoring the spread of Coronavirus.
Chief Piland says most patients who contract the virus do no require hospitalization.
“We don’t want to overrun the hospitals with people are A: asymptomatic or B: only have mild symptoms so I think isolation at home is absolutely the appropriate call. It’s my understanding the patient’s symptoms are very mild at this time and in most cases will subside and so no hospitalization is needed,” he said.
Piland said the city has been preparing for months by doing additional cleaning of city facilities, limiting the number of paramedics in contact with people reporting flu-like symptoms and carrying protective equipment needed to handle potential Coronavirus cases.
A dozen cases have been previously identified around Houston, where all the cases have been related to travelers on a recent Egyptian cruise, said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness for COVID-19 cases. Symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause severe complications, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
Texas lawmakers are scheduled to meet in Austin on Tuesday to discuss the state's preparedness for the new virus. Some other legislative meetings have been canceled in light of health concerns.
How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- 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.
*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott