As expected, Dallas has its first case of 2019 novel coronavirus. Dallas County Health and Human Services has announced that the first presumptive case of coronavirus has been found in a 77-year old person, according to a press release shared by County Judge Clay Jenkins.
The infected individual was described as an “out of state traveler with an extensive travel history,” and is being treated at an area hospital. Jenkins said those who have been in contact with the individual have been notified. “While we know this case is concerning, it is not unexpected,” says DCHHS Director Dr. Philip Huang via release. “We have been watching the numbers increase and have been preparing for this event.”
The Dallas County diagnosis follows a Collin County family that was diagnosed earlier this week, with two parents and a small child testing positive for the virus. The family’s other two children are in the clear so far, but they’ve been quarantined at home.
There are over 100,000 cases worldwide, and even as China and South Korea report fewer new cases this week, the country of Italy has been put on lockdown, colleges are telling students not to come back from spring break, and parades, sporting events, conferences, and large gatherings of all kinds are being canceled all over the world to prevent the spread. Washington’s governor has banned crowds of 250 or more from gathering in Seattle. Ohio’s governor has asked that professional sports teams either cancel their games or play to empty stadiums.
Here in Texas, coronavirus testing capacity is limited. “The state lab in Austin can only test samples from up to 26 patients per day, while labs in Houston and El Paso can test up to 15 samples daily, officials said. Labs in Dallas, Lubbock and Fort Worth, which can handle a small number of daily samples, are also ready to begin testing,” reports the Texas Tribune.
For providers and hospitals, they have preparing for just such an epidemic as this for years, with plans in place about capacity, containment, and public information.
Dallas officials urge the public to take preventive measures such as washing hands thoroughly, social distancing, avoiding others who are sick, and staying home if you feel ill. “Know that we are vigilant in our response, dedicated to your safety, and committed to getting you pertinent information in a timely and transparent manner,” Jenkins said.