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Montgomery County patient attended the Houston rodeo BBQ cook-off, mayor says

It is unclear if he was already showing signs of being sick at the time of the cook-off, authorities said Wednesday.

HOUSTON — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed Wednesday the Montgomery County man who tested presumptive positive for coronavirus attended the Houston Rodeo BBQ Cook-Off last month.

The man did not attend any concerts or other events, officials said.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the man attended the Cook-Off on Feb. 28. It is unclear if he was already showing signs of being sick at that time.

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On Tuesday, health officials identified the patient as a man in his 40s. He lives in the northwest portion of Montgomery County and is the first presumptive positive novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case in the county.

Montgomery County officials said the man had not traveled out of the state or country recently. Everyone he has been in close contact with is in self-quarantine, the county said.

If the case is confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it could be the first community-spread case in the Houston area.

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The man is being treated at a local hospital. He is isolated and officials said the risk to the public is low. The man's identity and where he is being treated is not being released.

At Wednesday's press conference, authorities said Montgomery Independent School District would close early for Spring Break. Its campuses will undergo a deep cleaning during that time as a precaution. Classes are scheduled to resume March 23.

There are now at least 13 cases in the Houston area. Click here to see a list of all the cases. Montgomery County officials said they've monitored 39 people since Feb. 7. They're still monitoring 21 people, which includes the people who the man who tested presumptive positive came in contact with.

Fourteen other people have been tested. Eight are still under investigation, which means they have symptoms and are awaiting test results.

“Those close contacts that he has interacted with are asystematic and are self-quarantined. At this time no risk of spreading any illness should they become infected,” said Melissa Miller with the Montgomery County Hospital District.

There is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus and there are no known medications to treat it.

Anyone who has traveled to a country that's on the CDC's restricted list is being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return to the United States.

Health officials are telling the public to take precautions to decrease the spread of the virus. Washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces in your house can help.

Click here for more information.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus are 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. 

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Stay up to date on coronavirus

How coronavirus is spread

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, hot 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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