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Coronavirus updates: Several people self-quarantined after exposure to high-risk country, HISD says

Keep up with the latest coronavirus news in the Houston area and across Texas.

HOUSTON — Here are the latest local and state headlines about the coronavirus.

March 9, 7:30 p.m. HISD: Several individuals placed on 14-day self-quarantine

Out of an abundance of caution, the Houston Independent School District said several individuals have been placed on a 14-day self-quarantine.

The district did not specify if these individuals are teachers, administrators or students, but said the individuals either recently returned from a country on the CDC travel warning list or they are closely related to someone who did.

HISD currently has no confirmed cases of COVID-19. The district said schools will be identified specifically if cases are positively confirmed.

 As a precautionary measure, impacted schools will undergo a deep cleaning and sanitization. This includes fogging all rooms with CDC-recommended disinfectant and cleaning all air ducts, a common practice for potential cases of airborne viruses.

RELATED: Custodians, teachers ask for extra time to properly clean classrooms to combat coronavirus

As Spring Break approaches, the district is asking all HISD students, families, and staff to take extra precautions when traveling

March 9, 5 p.m. Houston Food Bank packing quarantine meal kits

Houston Food Bank is asking members of the community to come out and help pack food kits for those quarantined as a result of the coronavirus.

Many of the people the organization services aren't in the position to reserve food in event of an emergency.

They made it clear there haven’t been any request for these kits, but the non-profit organization said it wants to be ready should the need arise in the Houston area.

Click here for more information on volunteering.

March 9, 4:10 p.m. North Texas gets first presumptive positive case

A Frisco man who recently traveled to California has tested "presumptive positive" for COVID-19, Collin County health officials said Monday. 

The patient is in his 30s, is in isolation in his home and is being monitored by county health staff, officials said. His symptoms have not required him to be hospitalized. 

A Dell employee who visited Austin earlier this month was diagnosed with coronavirus after returning home to India, according to our sister station KVUE.

A spokesperson for the City of Austin's Homeland Security and Emergency Management said Austin Public Health is aware of this case but are not concerned about it at this time. The department does not believe the man contracted the illness in Austin because the city currently does not have any reported person-to-person cases. 

RELATED: North Texas resident tests 'presumptive positive' for COVID-19, health officials say

RELATED: Dell employee returning to India from Austin tests positive for coronavirus

March 9, 1 p.m: MD Anderson screening, limiting visitors

Due to the threat of coronavirus, MD Anderson posted the following changes to screening to their website.

MD Anderson is screening for patients who exhibit symptoms of respiratory infection including:

  • Fever greater than 100.4º F/38º C
  • Coughing, or 
  • Shortness of breath

To ensure the safety of patients in the hospital, we are limiting the number of visitors on our campus:

  • Inpatient, ICU, EC, Pediatrics: Two visitors at a time.
  • Pre-and post-operative procedures: If a patient is being discharged home, their primary caregiver will be called to the recovery area for discharge instructions. Otherwise, visitors should remain in the waiting area.
  • Outpatient clinics (reception area and exam rooms): Only two healthy visitors who do not have symptoms are allowed to accompany patients in our ambulatory areas, including Houston-area locations, effective immediately.March 9, 7:36 a.m:

RELATED: MD Anderson Cancer Center screening, limiting visitors over coronavirus concerns

Memorial Hermann Hospital modifies visitor policy

Memorial Hermann is modifying its visitor policy across all Memorial Hermann acute-care and rehabilitation hospitals and Convenient Care Centers, effective Tuesday, March, 10, at 7 a.m. until further notice.

The modified visitor policy limits the number of visitors per patient, restricts the number of access points and implements screening of all visitors.

•    Visitation will be limited to two adult (18 years or older) visitors per patient, per day.
•    All visitors and patients, including vendors and contractors, will be screened at designated entry points, including the Emergency Center.
•    For patients in isolation, visitation will be limited to one adult (18 years or older) visitor per patient, per day. These visitors will also be required to wear personal protective equipment and will not be permitted to visit common areas within the facility. 

The brief screening process includes a temperature check and questionnaire. Individuals cleared through the screening process will receive a color-coded wristband which must be worn throughout their hospital visit. Visitors who are sick or do not meet screening criteria will not be allowed to enter the facility. 

Below are facilities impacted by the modified visitor policy:

•    Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center
•    Children’s Memorial Hermann
•    Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center
•    Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital
•    Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital
•    Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center
•    Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital
•    Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital
•    Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital
•    Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital
•    Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital
•    Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital
•    Women’s Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital
•    Women’s Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center
•    TIRR Memorial Hermann
•    Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital – Katy
•    Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Greater Heights
•    Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Katy
•    Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Kingwood
•    Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center at Sienna Plantation
•    Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Spring
•    Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Summer Creek
•    Memorial Hermann 24-Hour Emergency Care in The Woodlands

March 9, 5 a.m: Houston Health Department sets up coronavirus call center

The Houston Health Department will open a coronavirus call center on Monday for Houston residents needing more information about disease.

Houstonians can call the center at 832-393-4220 to speak to department staff and obtain information about the disease or get their questions answered.

The call center will open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will return voice messages left after hours the following day on a first call, first served basis.

Houston healthcare providers can continue to call 832-393-5080.

March 8, 9 p.m.: Another woman tests presumptive positive for coronavirus

Another person has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19, Harris County Public Health officials announced on Sunday.

Officials said the most recent presumptive positive test was performed on a woman who is associated with a group of people who traveled to Egypt last month.

Read the story here.

March 8, 6:30 p.m.: Sen. Ted Cruz chooses to self-quarantine after coming in contact with person who tested positive for coronavirus

United States Sen. Ted Cruz announced that he is self-quarantining himself after he learned that he came in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

In the statement he released on Sunday, Cruz said the interaction happened 10 days ago and he hasn't experienced any symptoms.

Read more here.

March 8, 5:30 p.m.: Rice University cancels classes

Rice has canceled in-person classes and undergrad teaching labs this week but the campus remains open. 

Read the full story here.

March 8, 9:58 a.m.: 3 more presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 out of Fort Bend County 

Fort Bend County Health & Human Services reported three additional presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to six out of Fort Bend County.

The three new cases include:

  • A man in his 70s who was symptomatic, hospitalized and discharged in good condition to isolation at home
  • A man in his 70s who had a fever for a day which resolved. He is now isolation at his home
  • A woman in her 60s who had mild symptoms which have resolved. She is in isolation at her house. 

All of these cases are travel-related, according to the health department. Though one traveler was not part of the group involved in the other Houston-area cases but was on the same cruise in Egypt at a later date. 

The first Fort Bend County presumptive positive case was announced March 4 after the testing of a 70-year-old Stafford man who traveled to Egypt.

The other two presumptive positive cases were reported Friday, March 6. Both were women in their 60s who also traveled to Egypt.  

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

March 7, 4:30 p.m.: 11 Memorial Hermann employees self-quarantine out of abundance of caution after contact with coronavirus patient

Memorial Hermann has asked 11 of their employees to self-quarantine out of abundance of caution for two weeks after “a small number of” patients with whom they came in contact tested positive for coronavirus.

Hospital officials said the 11 healthcare workers were in direct contact with one of the confirmed patients. They have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Memorial Hermann said one of the employees is exhibiting minor symptoms, but all 11 employees have been tested for or will be tested for COVID-19.

RELATED: 11 Memorial Hermann employees asked to self-quarantine out of abundance of caution after contact with coronavirus patient

March 6, 11:45 p.m.: Possible exposure at Houston-area church 

A Houston-area church was notified Friday that a person who tested positive for coronavirus was at Ash Wednesday Mass last month, and they're asking anyone who was near that person to contact local health officials.

St. Cecilia Church on Joan of Arc Drive posted to their Facebook page that they were contacted by Harris County Public Health about the case. They were told this person received ashes and had communion in the hand, but not from the cup.

March 6, 6:30 p.m.: Maryland cases linked to Houston-area patients

KHOU 11 News has learned eight local patients who are positive or presumptive positive for coronavirus took a cruise along the Nile River while they were in Egypt. 

They were on MS A'Sara Egyptian cruise ship, which appeared to be the same cruise ship the World Health Organization announced had 12 workers placed in quarantine for 14 days.

Three people in Maryland who took  the same cruise confirmed positive for the coronavirus, according to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

RELATED: 3 coronavirus patients in Maryland linked to 8 Houston-area cases

March 6, 3:30 p.m.: SXSW canceled over coronavirus concerns

For the first time in its 33-year history, South by Southwest has been canceled as the City of Austin declares a local emergency due to concerns about the coronavirus.  

The 10-day tech, film and music festival attracts tens of thousands of people from all over the world. Many of the industry giants, including Twitter, Facebook and Amazon, had already pulled out. SXSW was scheduled to begin on March 13.

A change.org petition calling for the cancellation had more than 55,000 signatures.

Last year's event brought an estimated $355 million to Austin.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Travis County.

RELATED: SXSW canceled: Austin officials end 2020 festival amid coronavirus concerns

March 6, 2:45 p.m.: HCA Houston Healthcare limits visitor hours

In response to coronavirus concerns, HCA Houston Healthcare has initiated new visitor policies at its 13 hospitals. 

Effective immediately and until further notice, each HCA Houston Healthcare hospital will allow two visitors at a time per patient. Visiting hours are 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Under the new visitation rules, one visitor can stay overnight with laboring mothers, NICU and pediatric patients.

RELATED: This interactive map shows all reported coronavirus cases in the world

Entry points at each HCA Houston Healthcare hospital also are now staffed to screen visitors based on the health system’s protocols for identifying and assessing for COVID-19.

March 6, 12:30 p.m. Here's a breakdown of Houston-area cases: 

March 6, 12:10 p.m.: The Houston Health Department has confirmed a new coronavirus case in Houston

The Houston Health Department is reporting a new travel-related case of coronavirus in the city of Houston. The woman and five other positive or presumptive positive local cases traveled together to Egypt. 

RELATED: Houston woman who traveled to Egypt becomes sixth local coronavirus case

March 5, 9:45 p.m.: 2 more patients being treated after 'presumptive positive' coronavirus tests in Houston area

Five patients who are being treated for the coronavirus in the Houston area all traveled together to Egypt last month. Two people in northwest Harris County tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Harris County Public Health. Two other men have "presumptive positive" cases. One in Harris County and another within the city of Houston.

Credit: KHOU

March 5: Houston-area coronavirus patients traveled together to Egypt

Two people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Harris County and the person who tested "presumptive positive" in Fort Bend County all recently traveled to Egypt. They were a part of a larger group of people who went on the trip.  One of those on the trip is a Rice University employee who had been under self-quarantine.

March 5: Stafford city leaders discuss Fort Bend presumptive positive coronavirus case

On Wednesday, Fort Bend County announced a 'presumptive positive' case.  On Thursday, Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella discussed more detail about the case.

RELATED: First responders who transported presumptive coronavirus patient 'followed protocol'

March 5: Klein ISD plans to take additional steps to keep students and staff safe

The Klein Independent School District is moving to a Level 2 response to the coronavirus threat after reports of the first cases in Harris County. The district was operating at a Level 1, but after discussion with Harris County health officials, they decided to bump up the response level.

March 5: Pearland ISD makes changes to attendance policies due to coronavirus

With the spread of coronavirus, Pearland ISD is making changes to its attendance policy for the rest of the school year. Administrators notified parents and students that the district will suspend perfect attendance rules for the rest of the school year. Students will be recognized for perfect attendance if they didn’t miss a day from the August 15 through March 2.

March 5: Harris County announces two confirmed coronavirus cases

The county sent out a release, saying the first two coronavirus cases in the county had been confirmed. 

March 5: Fort Bend County closely watching 'presumptive positive' coronavirus case

Fort Bend ISD administrators want to ensure parents that they’re aware of the presumptive positive case of COVID-19 recently confirmed by the county health department. The district is closely monitoring the situation and plans to adhere to all school guidelines regarding the virus, according to a statement posted Thursday to the district website.

RELATED: What's a 'presumptive positive' coronavirus test?

RELATED: This interactive map shows all reported coronavirus cases in the world

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