Group of Houstonians worried after friend hospitalized, tested for COVID-19

Some Houstonians say they are concerned after their friend was hospitalized and has now been tested for coronavirus.  These friends say the Houston woman who was tested for coronavirus is still in the hospital and the test results have not come back yet but they says they're so worried because she was initially told to self-quarantine and didn't see a doctor for days.

“If you think you may be exposed call your doctor ahead of just going so they can take the proper precautions,” says Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. 

”And the doctor will let them know yes you’re going to need to come in and we’re going to take you to a separate area,” adds Porfirio Villareal with the Houston Health Department. 

RELATED: First presumptive case of coronavirus confirmed in Fort Bend County

”My instruction to everybody, let’s prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” explains Mayor Turner. 

In fact, Mayor Turner says the city has been preparing for the last couple months.  “We’ve worked out protocols with hospitals, clinics. We’re having conversations with our nursing homes and senior living facilities because it’s that group that seems more adversely impacted”.  

While the Houston Health Department does not confirm people under observation for coronavirus, friends of the woman who recently returned to Houston from travel abroad say she and her husband are now hospitalized, have been tested for coronavirus and are awaiting results.  

Houston will soon be able to test for coronavirus, rather than sending swabs to the CDC in Atlanta.  “Once we’re able to test it will be much quicker to get results,” Villareal explains. 

RELATED: LIVE Interactive Coronavirus Map

Meantime, the mayor is encouraging Houstonians not to live in fear but rather stay properly informed and protect yourself. 

”People don’t necessarily expect their mayor not to shake their hand or hug them either.  So now I’m doing this,” as the mayor demonstrates a fist bump. He says perhaps fist bumping is a good idea for now and keeping your hands clean with soap and water or hand sanitizer.

“I never leave home without it,” the Mayor says while pulling a bottle of hand sanitizer from his pocket.

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Houston is losing millions by canceling CERAWeek, including 5,400 hotel room nights that were booked for the global energy conference.  The Mayor says area hotels will be offering deep discounts in the month of March to try to fill those rooms.

Again, there are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Houston area.