Tarrant County Public Health has identified the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in a Tarrant County resident, the department announced in a news release Tuesday. The person diagnosed with the coronavirus had traveled to a conference in Kentucky during late February.
“Because of the sensitive nature of this information, we are not allowed to provide specific information about the patient,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja. “We are interviewing household contacts and have identified places where this person has been and are reaching out to people possibly exposed. The TCPH operations center is continuing to monitor the situation closely, working with the CDC, DSHS and other community partners.”
The Tarrant County Public Health lab identified this case as part of recently expanded testing. Tarrant County’s lab serves Tarrant and 33 other counties in the region.
Meanwhile, a 77-year-old tested positive for coronavirus in Dallas County in that county’s first “presumptive positive” case of the disease on Tuesday, the Dallas County Health and Human Services department said.
Also on Tuesday, Collin County health officials confirmed three people in the same family tested positive for coronavirus in Frisco. A man in his 30s, his wife and their 3-year-old came back positive for the COVID-19 virus after being tested by the Dallas County Health and Human Services lab.
The person involved in the Dallas County case is an out-of-state traveler with an extensive travel history and is being treated and isolated at a Dallas-area hospital, the release said. Health officials say they have notified anyone who was in close contact with the individual.
Dallas County won’t release further information about the 77-year-old patient to protect his or her privacy, the release said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must run its own positive test on the person for the case to be confirmed.
“While we know this case is concerning, it is not unexpected,” Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Philip Huang said in the news release. “We have been watching the numbers increase across the US and have been preparing for this event. We are working with all local, regional, & statewide health authorities to monitor the situation and update the public.”
In Collin County, health officials tested all six members of the affected family — including four children — and a close family friend Monday afternoon, hours after the father reported he had received presumptive positive results from a private lab. Three tests were confirmed positive, and one school-aged child had an inconclusive test and is being re-tested. The other three people tested negative.
All seven Collin County residents are in stable condition and they are in self-quarantine in their homes, officials said.
“Cases of COVID-19 in the ninth largest county and the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the country were not unexpected,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in the news release from the Dallas health department.
Officials believe the Frisco man was exposed to the virus during a business trip to California in late February. He did not show any symptoms while flying home, and officials say he did not pose a risk to others who were on the same plane, according to a Collin County news release.
Health officials say that both of the family’s school-age children didn’t have symptoms and weren’t contagious at any time while they attended school.
The family has children who attend Tadlock Elementary School, the Frisco Independent School District said in statement Monday. The district’s students are on spring break this week.
“County epidemiology staff are closely monitoring the cases, working to identify additional individuals who had contact with the confirmed cases while the individuals were symptomatic,” the Collin County release said. “Those identified as having close contact to the cases will be contacted by health officials.”
The immediate risk of transmission remains low, officials said.
COVID-19 causes respiratory illness with fever and cough and may lead to bronchitis and severe pneumonia, officials said.
CORONAVIRUS IN CHILDREN AND OTHER CASES
Coronavirus cases among children have been relatively uncommon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most confirmed cases in China — where the outbreak originated — have been reported in adults, and children are not at a higher risk of becoming seriously sick from coronavirus.
The virus has generally caused mild symptoms among children who have been infected, and severe complications have been rare, the CDC said on its website.
The CDC recommends children wash their hands and follow other usual prevention tactics to prevent the spread of the infection.
Like most Texas counties, Collin County does not have an onsite laboratory to test for novel coronavirus, but two commercial laboratories have announced their capability to perform COVID-19 testing, the county news release said. Quest Diagnostics began testing March 9, and LabCorp began testing March 5. People seeking testing should contact their doctor for testing referrals, county officials said.
Six public health labs across Texas, including Tarrant County and Dallas County, are capable of testing for coronavirus, with four more on the way by the end of the month, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday.
The Tarrant, Collin and Dallas county cases are the first to be confirmed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
On Tuesday, the Northeast Texas Public Health Department confirmed a case of coronavirus in Gregg County as the first case in East Texas, NBC DFW reported.
Other than evacuees who have been quarantined in San Antonio, 12 other cases have been reported in Texas — six in Harris County and six in Fort Bend County, near Houston — according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
There were more than 118,000 confirmed cases worldwide, including more than 900 in the U.S., as of Tuesday evening, according to tracking from John Hopkins University. There had been more than 4,000 deaths worldwide, with more than 3,000 of those in China.