Federal and state health officials continue to monitor the new coronavirus


AUSTIN February 18, 2020 - Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Texas.

The patient is among a group of people who have been under a federal quarantine order since arriving at a military base in San Antonio on a government-chartered flight from Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus outbreak started, the CDC said. The patient had no exposure to the general public since leaving China, CDC said.

"This is the first person under quarantine at JBSA-Lackland who had symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19," the CDC said in a statement. "The individual is currently isolated and receiving medical care at a designated hospital nearby." 

If you or your patients have questions about the coronavirus, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are providing up-to-date information and guidance on their websites.

The DSHS website includes basic information about the virus, an FAQ, and guidance for health care professionals, laboratories, travelers, and more. DSHS also published an updated health alert on the coronoavirus on Feb. 11.

Meanwhile, the CDC website includes information about symptoms and complications, prevention and treatment, and how the virus is transmitted.

Physicians and other health care workers should consider the coronavirus if a patient is showing symptoms after having traveled to mainland China within 14 days of symptom onset, updated CDC guidance says. Suspected cases should be reported to your local health department, CDC said.

Physicians are urged to use precaution with patients who have a fever and/or symptoms of lower respiratory illness.

The recommendations for infection control are similar for any patient showing symptoms of an airborne respiratory virus, and include:

  • Masking and isolating the patient behind a closed door;
  • Wearing protective gear (goggles, gown, respirator mask) when caring for the patient; and
  • Washing hands and disinfecting equipment and surfaces that may have come in contact with the patient.

If you have any questions or would like more information specific to the coronavirus, contact DSHS at coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov.

In addition, DSHS has created a hotline staffed by nurses and epidemiologists that open to the public and to health care professionals. The hotline is open from 7 am to 6 pm (CT) Monday through Friday at (877) 570-9779.

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