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Health officials confirm 2nd presumptive positive COVID-19 case in Galveston County

The man is the first case of community spread in Galveston County, health officials confirm.

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas — Galveston County Health District confirmed its second presumptive positive case of coronavirus in a Galveston County resident.

The individual is a male ranging in age 45 to 50. County health officials said he presented to a UTMB clinic with symptoms including fever, dry cough, sore throat, headache and body ache. Test results from UTMB show he is positive for COVID-19.

Results are pending confirmation from the Houston Health Department laboratory.

County health officials said at an afternoon news conference Tuesday that an initial investigation shows the man has not recently traveled or come into contact with another infected person. This suggests the first signs of community spread in Galveston County.

For confidentiality purposes, GCHD said it is not releasing additional identifying information about the man. GCHD is conducting an epidemiological investigation and is working to quickly identify close contacts of the man.

GCHD is strongly encouraging event organizers to take a moment and consider if their events or conferences may be held virtually or postponed.

“We do know social distancing helps reduce the risk of infection in the community the sooner you do it,” said Dr. Philip Keiser with the Galveston County Local Health Authority. “We want people to think through the particulars of their event. Do you have participants who are in an extremely high-risk group? Think about what the risk is to you and the elderly and high-risk people you may be around. You may not be at a high risk, but who are you around when you leave? The elderly? Those with compromised immune systems? We really want people to focus on the particular risk. It’s not always tied to a particular number.”

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said during that same news conference that he planned to issue a county-wide disaster declaration Tuesday that would aim to prevent price gouging in the county.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus 

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

Lower your risk

  • 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.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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