AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Public Health has announced that it's received two presumptive positive cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 in Austin-Travis County. These are the first cases to be confirmed in the area.
Mayor Steve Adler and other city and county leaders held an early morning news conference to discuss the cases.
Officials say the two cases are a man in his 60s and a female in her 30s and are not related to each other. One of the cases is believed to have been contracted in the Houston area and the other was a hospital transfer from a different region in the state.
The man is being treated at a local hospital and the female is self quarantined at her home. Officials say there are other individuals at the female's home and those people are being monitored.
Officials say that both cases are not believed to be community spread which means the illness did NOT come from an unknown infected person with whom they had come into contact.
In a news release, Dr. Mark Escott with the Austin-Travis County Interim Medical Authority says, "This is concerning but not surprising and we have been prepared for the arrival of COVID-19 in our area."
“It is critical that the community continue to heed our recommendations and take personal hygiene seriously. This will be the key to ensuring that this virus doesn’t spread," Dr. Escott says.
The cases raised Austin Public Health's response to Phase 3 of its five phase plan.
Phase 1: Persons Under Monitoring
Phase 2: Persons Under Investigation (Testing in Progress)
Phase 3: Confirmed Case (No Person-to-Person spread)
Phase 4: Limited Person-to-Person Spread (Close/Household Contacts)
Phase 5: Person-to-Person Spread in the Community
Officials say they will be evaluating additional protections for the community based on these positive cases. At the time officials say they have not made any additional changes to current regulations around mass gatherings or other public health standards but will keep the public updated if this information changes.
People are urged to continue to practice proper hygiene practices including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you have symptoms of respiratory illness including cough, fever and shortness of breath, please contact your health care provider. It is important to call ahead before arriving at a clinic, urgent care or emergency department to avoid potential spread.