Total coronavirus cases in Houston-area increases to 12

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Monday, March 9, 2020
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There are now six presumptive positive cases in Fort Bend County after three more travel-related cases were announced Sunday.


Harris County Public Health announced another presumptive positive coronavirus case in Harris County Sunday night.

The 60 to 70-year-old female is now the twelfth coronavirus case in the Houston-area, and third in Harris County.

Like the rest of the known cases, the woman recently traveled on the M.S. A'sara Nile River cruise in Egypt.

Officials say the woman is in stable condition and is quarantined.


Fort Bend County Health & Human Services are now investigating an additional three travel-related cases of the coronavirus.

On Sunday, health officials said three presumptive positive cases came back concerning two men in their 70s and a woman in her 60s, who had recently been abroad.

The cases are as follows:

  • A man in his 70s who was symptomatic, hospitalized and discharged in good condition to isolation at home.
  • A man in his 70s who had a one day fever, which was resolved. He is in isolation at home.
  • A woman in her 60s who had mild symptoms which have resolved. She is in isolation at home.

This brings the total to six presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Fort Bend County.

Officials say all three of the new cases are associated with a group of travelers who recently traveled to Egypt on a river cruise.

The health department said it's working to identify anyone who has been in close contact with the three individuals.

Health officials are asking anyone who recently traveled to Egypt and took a Nile River cruise to immediately self-quarantine for 14 days and to contact a local health department.

They specifically say any passengers who traveled on the M.S. A'sara cruise traveling to and from Aswan, Egypt between Feb. 12 and March 5, 2020 may have been exposed to COVID-19.

SEE ALSO: Evecuees headed to Texas after being onboard a cruise ship with 21 coronavirus-infected guests


Memorial Hermann hospital released a statement Saturday afternoon saying 11 health care workers who were in direct contact with a patient confirmed positive for COVID-19 have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Although it was initially reported that only one of the workers is showing minor symptoms, Memorial Hermann now says there are three. All 11 are being tested and monitored.

"During an initial visit to one of our facilities, one of the confirmed cases did not present with symptoms, relevant travel or potential exposure that would have immediately prompted CDC testing protocols. Three days later, and once it was known that passengers on the Egypt cruise had been exposed to COVID-19, one of the patients returned to one of our facilities and was tested. The potential exposure to our healthcare workers was related to the first visit only."

In a press conference Saturday, officials with Memorial Hermann ensured the public that coronavirus appears to be a "mild-to-moderate respiratory illness" that they say most people can treat at home.

Dr. John Butler said the patient at Memorial Hermann arrived about a week ago with symptoms after traveling to Egypt with the group that includes other Houston patients.

He says the patient was discharged, but brought back in for testing when more information was provided to the public about other coronavirus cases on the same trip.

The patient's test came back positive Friday. Butler says all 11 health care providers who came in contact with the patient have been tested, and results are pending.

Information about what Memorial Hermann location the patient was treated at was not released out of concerns for public panic.

Watch the video above to see Saturday's press conference.


One of the people who tested positive in the Houston-area coronavirus cases may have visited the church at St. Cecilia's School in west Houston, said Harris County Public Health.

On Friday, St. Cecilia Catholic School released a message saying an individual who tested positive for the coronavirus had attended mass on Wednesday, Feb. 26 around 5:30 p.m.

"We were informed that the individual sat in the last pew on the left side of the church," the press release stated.

WATCH: ABC13 breaks down everything we know about the coronavirus outbreak

Students at the school attended mass around 8:15 a.m. and didn't return to the church again until Thursday, March 5. The rest of the school returned Friday morning.

The church has taken appropriate safety measures to clean and sanitize the area. St. Cecilia's School will remain open.

The school is urging anyone who sat in the last three rows on the left side at the 5:30 p.m. mass to contact Harris County Public Health at 713-439-6000 and seek medical attention immediately if they notice any symptoms.

St. Cecilia Parish has taken the following to help protect its parishioners:

  • We drained and sanitized the baptismal fonts; it will not be filled for the remainder of the Lenten season
  • We sanitized pews, door handles, and bathrooms
  • We are providing hand sanitizers at all the church entrances

The person who tested positive for the virus was one of the eight people who has tested positive in the Houston-area. They've all been linked to a cruise on the Nile River in Egypt.


Eight cases of coronavirus in the Houston area and three cases in Maryland appear to be connected to a river cruise in Egypt.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said in a news conference Friday that three cases of coronavirus in that state involved a group of 17 people who had traveled on a river cruise in Egypt.

"All three of these individuals contracted the virus on the M.S. Asara, an Egyptian cruise on the Nile River," said Hogan.

He also said the cases appear to be related to the Texas cases, "Our three Maryland cases appear to be linked to six confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas."

SEE ALSO: Busting 5 of the biggest coronavirus myths


Rice University said Friday that they have taken precautions on campus after one of their employees, who was also on the Egypt trip, was confirmed as a "presumptive positive" case Thursday night.

Rice officials say they have sanitized Keck Hall multiple times and custodians are providing additional cleaning throughout campus.

In a statement, they said, "We recognize that in a limited number of cases, the impact of this temporary decision could have significant professional consequences."

In that case, officials recommend any affected individuals make an appeal to the provost's office.

The employee who tested positive was on campus Feb. 24-25 and was in a secured suite on the first floor of Keck Hall. Officials say he wore a face mask during his time on campus and didn't visit any other classrooms or buildings.

Rice also banned all university-sponsored international travel for faculty, staff, postdocs and students through April 30.

Officials confirmed the Rice employee is a man between the ages of 60-70 years old who has a history of international travel.

The man is said to be experiencing some symptoms and has self-quarantined at home.

His lab work has been sent to the CDC in Atlanta for testing.


Harris County (2 confirmed, 2 presumptive):

  • Man who recently traveled on Egyptian river cruise, case confirmed by the CDC
  • Woman recently traveled on Egyptian river cruise, case confirmed by the CDC
  • Man in his 60s or 70s who recently traveled on Egyptian river cruise, presumptive positive case
  • Woman in her 60s or 70s who recently traveled on Egyptian river cruise, presumptive positive case

Houston (1 confirmed, 1 presumptive):

  • Man in his 60s or 70s who traveled on Egyptian river cruise, presumptive positive case
  • Woman in her 60s or 70s who traveled on Egyptian river cruise, case confirmed by the CDC

Fort Bend County (6 presumptive):

  • Man in his 70s who traveled on Egyptian river cruise, presumptive positive case
  • Woman in her 60s who traveled on Egyptian river cruise, presumptive positive case
  • Woman in her 60s who traveled on Egyptian river cruise, presumptive positive case
  • Man in his 70s who traveled on Egyptian river cruise, presumptive positive case
  • Man in his 70s who traveled on Egyptian river cruise, presumptive positive case
  • Woman in her 60s who traveled on Egyptian river cruise, presumptive positive case

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a tweet he is encouraging Houstonians to limit international travel for now, but also not to be paralyzed by fear.

Where are the coronavirus cases in the U.S.?

Symptoms of COVID-19 are distinct, but somewhat similar to the flu, and include high fever, deep chest cough and difficulty breathing.

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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