On Friday, March 13, the Galveston County Health District (GCHD) confirmed the first presumptive positive case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a Galveston County resident. Results are pending confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The individual is a woman ranging in age 30-35 years old. This case is directly linked to Montgomery County Public Health’s presumptive positive case involving a man in his 40s. The woman was tested by Austin Public Health and is currently self-quarantined in Austin. She is a resident of northern Galveston County. For confidentiality purposes, GCHD is not releasing additional identifying information about the woman.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation. We understand this presumptive positive case may concern our community, but at this time there is no evidence of community spread,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County local health authority. “The immediate risk for Galveston County residents remains low. We have worked very hard planning and preparing for this moment. There are steps in place to safeguard the community.”
GCHD is conducting an epidemiological investigation and is working to quickly identify close contacts of the woman. Those may include family, friends, co-workers and other potential contacts.
There are steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones protected:
- 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 with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. If tissues are not available, cough and sneeze in your elbow. Do not cough and sneeze in your hands.
- Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Get a flu shot. The flu vaccine does not offer protection against COVID-19, but it is also flu season.
Call your healthcare provider if you are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath and are concerned you have come in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient or have a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset.
Roughly 80 percent of those who fall ill with COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms similar to those of the flu and will recover without needing any hospitalization. Those who are at a higher risk for COVID-19 and developing complications include older adults and those with underlying health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and lung disease.
For more information on COVID-19, visit www.gchd.org/coronavirus. If you have questions about COVID-19, please call the GCHD information call center at 409.938.7221, option 1.