DALLAS-FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Multiple hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have started screening patients who have recently traveled to China as concern over the coronavirus grows.
“We monitor the situation very closely,” said Dr. Phil Huang, director of Dallas County Health & Human Services. “Everyone’s following the CDC recommendations regarding anyone who presents with fever and acute respiratory symptoms, ask a detailed travel history.”
Healthcare providers in DFW are keeping a close eye on the situation, especially with the first suspected case in Texas in Brazos County.
Here are what some of the largest hospital systems in the area are saying about coronavirus concerns:
Baylor Scott and White Health
“The safety of our patients and staff is a priority. In accordance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we review and revise our screening practices for high-consequence infectious diseases to ensure compliance with the latest CDC guidelines and recommendations. As part of our patient evaluation process, we conduct screens for infectious diseases symptoms and travel history outside of the United States. If a patient has traveled outside of the US, we review the CDC’s travelers’ health website for global outbreaks. Real-time information is posted from around the world, allowing for clinicians to receive up-to-date alerts as well as recommendations from the CDC.”
“JPS regularly reviews our patient screening procedures to insure we are meeting the needs of the Network. This week we added questions to screen patients for possible contact with coronavirus.”
Texas Health Resources
“We are screening patients who come to our hospitals and physician offices. We ask them about whether they have traveled to China, have been exposed to people who have traveled to China and symptoms of the coronavirus.”
Also Thursday, a Texas A&M student is being tested for the pneumonia-like virus in College Station.
Brazos County health officials say the patient recently traveled from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated. Hundreds of people there have been infected and at least 25 have died from the virus.
“Samples were obtained,” said Dr. Eric Wilke with the Brazos County Health District. “Fortunately, the patient had mild symptoms and was improving – so that’s a very good sign.”
It’s unclear whether the student was on campus Wednesday, but the university has been deemed a low risk for the virus and classes will continue as scheduled.
If the preliminary diagnosis is confirmed, Brazos County health officials say they will begin the tracing process to figure out who the patient came in contact with.
“They will be reaching out to those close contacts and are monitoring them for symptoms,” said Dr. Diana Cervantes with the UNTHSC School of Public Health.
No cases of the coronavirus has been reported in North Texas at this point. To reduce the likelihood of contracting the illness, doctors recommend similar prevention measures to the flu.
“There’s no vaccine, but certainly wash your hands, don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth, cough into your arm and tissue and throw it away, and stay home if you’re sick,” said Dr. Huang.
Getting infected with the coronavirus looks a lot like the common cold or flu. The CDC says the symptoms will include a runny nose, headache, a cough, sore throat, fever, and a general unwell feeling. In some cases, the coronavirus can lead to pneumonia or bronchitis., especially in people with compromised immune symptoms or people who are very young or very old.
The only want to confirm the coronavirus is through a lab or blood test.
In the wake of the student being tested at A&M, SMU sent CBS 11 the following statement:
“While the Centers for Disease Control advise that the immediate health risk of 2019 novel coronavirus to the general American public is low, SMU’s Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is following the recommendations of the CDC and Dallas County Health District officials in watching for symptoms of the illness among members of the SMU community. This includes obtaining a detailed travel history for any patients presenting with fever and/or acute respiratory illness.”