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Sunday, April 5, 2020

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First 2 coronavirus cases confirmed in Houston; both related to travel


Update 3/6: Two more cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in the city of Houston, according to public health officials.

An additional case of the new coronavirus was also confirmed in unincorporated Harris County on Thursday. This brings the total number of cases in Houston and Harris County to five.

The cases are travel-related and there is no evidence of community spread, according to officials.

Original: Two cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in Harris County by public health officials.

Both cases, from the unincorporated area of northwest Harris County, have been traced back to travel and there has been no evidence of community spread, officials said.

Harris County has been proactive throughout the coronavirus outbreak, testing and potentially quarantining people who have been exposed to or near the disease.

“Since January, we have been at an elevated level of readiness to prepare for and respond to a positive case here in Harris County,” said Harris County Public Health Executive Director Dr. Umair A Shah. “We will continue to take action by identifying potential contacts and monitoring them closely.”

Testing for the coronavirus, officially COVID-19, is confidential, and HCPH recommends individuals who believe they may have been exposed to get tested. Symptoms are similar to those of the flu and can include fever, shortness of breath and a cough.

“Each of our residents is a member of our public health team, and we are urging everyone to learn the facts about this virus and take simple steps to help contain the spread by visiting www.ReadyHarris.org,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. 

Six students and faculty are on self-quarantine for 14 days and two others are expected to be also by the end of the week after returning from Italy and South Korea, according to a UH spokesperson.

The UH System expanded its travel restrictions this week on university-related travel to include all countries that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Warning related to the coronavirus.

As of Thursday, these countries are China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

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