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COVID-19: Two Presumptive Positive Cases in Austin-Travis County

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Texas State Capitol

Austin Public Health has received two presumptive positive cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Austin-Travis County. These are the first cases to be confirmed in the area.

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.

“This is concerning but not surprising and we have been prepared for the arrival of COVID-19 in our area,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County Interim Medical Authority. “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.”

The confirmation of these cases has elevated the Austin Public Health (APH) response to Phase 3 of our five-phase plan, adapted from our pandemic flu plans.

  • 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

The Austin-Travis County Emergency Operations Center remains activated.

APH continues to work to enhance community preparedness and through education an the protection of our vulnerable population including people over 70 years old and those preexisting medical conditions.

The City of Austin and Travis County will be evaluating additional protections for the community based on these positive cases. At this time, we 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.

APH is continuing to coordinate with our local, state and federal public health and health care partners. We continue to urge everyone to help limit the spread of disease through proper hygiene practices:

  • 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.

As this situation evolves, we will provide updates as necessary. For more information, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.

There will be a news conference at 6:00 a.m. at Austin City Hall to provide additional details and an update to the community about the City and County efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This news conference will be aired on TV on ATXN and streamed online at ATXN.tv.

Source: Press release

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march 2020

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