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Hidalgo: Harris County prepared to respond in event of coronavirus threat

Officials on Thursday afternoon confirmed two cases in Harris County.

HOUSTON — Harris County public health officials shared how they're preparing for potential COVID-19 cases in the area after the recent confirmation of a "presumptive positive" coronavirus patient in Fort Bend County.

Officials on Thursday afternoon confirmed two cases in Harris County.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and other leaders held a roundtable Thursday to discuss how the government and hospitals would respond when a person tests positive for the virus.

Hidalgo on Thursday said Harris County leaders, as well as national health experts and neighboring counties like Fort Bend, have been meeting for months making preparations.

“What we’re continuing to do is really exercise that muscle memory of what a response would look like, check our egos and our logos at the door and all work very closely together in order to know exactly what our roles are and identifying any gaps,” Hidalgo said.

In addition to reviewing with health professionals the possible coronavirus scenarios and the possible actions the local government can take, Hidalgo said they are also working with the state legislature to make sure that federal funds for virus preparations are being shared on a local level.

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Houston-area doctors have been referring patients to Houston Health Department for testing. Hidalgo said officials know the source of those infections and are taking the necessary steps to speak to any individuals who may have had contact with them.

“We want to continue monitoring the situation. We are in a moment of containment with this,” Hidalgo said. “If we ever get to a place where we don’t know where 'presumptive positives' are coming from, how they got infected and those kinds of issues, that’s a different situation. That would mean coronavirus is out in the community, and we don’t know how it’s spreading.”

County officials remind residents to keep taking reasonable safety precautions such as seeing a physician if you’re experiencing possible symptoms, washing your hands regularly and tuning into the latest health updates.

“We don’t want to create panic. We don’t want to frighten people from coming forth and saying they have a potential case; that they may be exposed if they say they’re feeling sick and have coronavirus,” Hidalgo said.


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