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Coronavirus: What Harris County health officials say about RodeoHouston, Spring Break

Dr. Umair Shah and County Judge Lina Hidalgo sat down with KHOU 11 for more than 30 minutes to answer your questions.

HOUSTON — Harris County health officials stressed the risk for people to get infected with coronavirus remains low following two new presumptive positive cases and one confirmed positive case popping up in the Houston area Friday.

In Fort Bend County, two women in their 60s tested "presumptive positive." In Houston, a woman between 60-70 tested positive, bringing the total number of Houston-area cases to eight.

Officials believe all these cases are tied to the same trip to Egypt and say there is no evidence of community spread.

How do they know that? It's based on certain criteria, including symptoms and travel history.

Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health, and County Judge Lina Hidalgo said they are looking at confirmed cases and people connected to those cases.

They have asked people who have been in touch with any confirmed patients to self-isolate and self-monitor. That way, if those people start showing symptoms, they are already reducing the risk of spreading by self-isolating.

"It’s really about being in contact with a confirmed case, and our region, that’s a very small number of people," Dr. Shah said.

RELATED: Two more presumptive travel-related coronavirus cases reported in Fort Bend County

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Dr. Shah and Judge Hidalgo said they are pushing to increase the county's testing capacity. Currently, the county can test about 30 cases a day, they said.

Being able to test more people goes hand in hand with expanding the criteria.

After City of Austin officials announced that SXSW, the tech, film, and music festival would be canceled due to coronavirus concerns, many people in Houston wondered if the Rodeo would be canceled, too.

Right now, the answer is no.

"If we cancel X, will you don’t just stop at X, why don’t you cancel X plus Y? Well OK, now you cancel that, X plus Y plus Z. So if we feel we need to go all the way to Z, yes we will do it," Dr. Shah said.

Rodeo staff doubled the number of handwashing and hand sanitizer stations to help keep people safe.

As for spring break travel, Mayor Sylvester Turner urged people to take a "staycation."

“If it were me, I would choose a staycation, but we don’t have a formal recommendation," Judge Hidalgo said.

"It’s not that you can’t (travel) just be common sensical about where you go and how you go about doing that," Dr. Shah said.

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