'Presumptive positive case' of COVID-19 found in Fort Bend County, officials say

Friday, March 6, 2020
'Presumptive positive case' of COVID-19 found in Fort Bend County,
Officials say the man is in his 70s and recently traveled abroad. He is currently hospitalized and stable.

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- City leaders in Stafford are now investigating after they were notified about a patient who came back as presumptive positive case for COVID-19 in Fort Bend County.

The Stafford fire chief says they responded to a call on Tuesday morning and three firefighters then assisted the patient.

"Our personnel on the fire truck assisted with patient care, packaging and loading the patient. We then returned to service. EMS transported to a local facility here in the Fort Bend County area. Additional steps and tests were taken at the hospital," said Chief Larry Di Camillo.

Fort Bend County health officials say a presumptive positive case came back concerning a man in his 70s, who had recently been abroad.

WATCH: Walk through the Houston Health Department laboratory conducting COVID-19 testing

The test was sent to the CDC in Atlanta by plane.

Once they receive it, county officials say it takes between 24-48 hours to get results. The county says the patient was in stable condition at the hospital.

News of the virus has left the community on edge.

Pediatrician Dr. Subodh Bhuchar says the key is not to panic.

"I want to make sure people understand, it's not something as ordinary or as frequent as we've seen in the regular flu. We've seen so many regular flus a (coronavirus) is going to be one of the rare things."

As far the as the three firefighters, the chief says they are not showing any symptoms of the virus. If the tests comes back positive from the CDC then they'll seek guidance from health officials.

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"This presumptive case is actionable and we are treating it as a positive," said Fort Bend County Judge KP George. "Fort Bend County Health and Human Services has started an epidemiological investigation and is leading the effort to quickly identify close contacts with the individual. Close contacts may include family members, co-workers, emergency responders, and other contacts."


In the video above, several Fort Bend and Harris County health officials provide the latest details on the 'presumptive case' of COVID-19 in Texas.

"This case was associated with travel so, we do not have any evidence of community spread at this time," said Fort Bend County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Jacquelyn Minter.

This is the first positive test result for COVID-19 in Texas outside of the passengers returned under federal quarantine from Wuhan City, China or the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

According to DSHS, the test was performed at the public health lab in Houston and will be confirmed by testing at the CDC.

Meanwhile, Fort Bend ISD posted on Twitter saying the district is monitoring the case closely.

"Having a COVID-19 case in Texas is a significant development in this outbreak, but it doesn't change the fact that the immediate risk to most Texans is low," said DSHS commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt. "This travel-related case reinforces the fact that we should all be taking basic hygiene steps that are extremely effective in limiting limit the spread of COVID-19 and all respiratory illnesses."

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The county also released the following list of precautions you can take to keep you and your family safe.

  • Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first.
  • Practice healthy hygiene habits every day to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • 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 coughs and sneezes. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. Remember to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner released the following statement:

"I know many Houstonians may feel anxious after learning of the presumptive positive COVID-19 Fort Bend County resident. I want to assure everyone that the city of Houston Health Department is closely monitoring the developments and collaborating with regional, state and federal health authorities. For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 remains low. If you have not been around anyone with COVID-19 or have not visited an ongoing outbreak area, you are currently not considered to be at risk. While people need to remain vigilant, there is currently no need for average Houstonains to take out-of-the-ordinary protective actions. People should continue to practice routine healthy hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, such as washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home if sick. I also remind Houstonians there is no need to go the emergency room unless you have a medical emergency. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first. While there are currently no confirmed cases in Houston, this is a rapidly evolving situation and additional cases are expected."


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