State Leaders Working To Make Sure Communities Have Resources To Respond To Coronavirus

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Department of State Health Services said Friday four people in Texas have been tested for coronavirus.

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Results for one of the people have come back negative according to the state.

But results for three others are still pending.

They include a Baylor University student, a Texas A&M University student, and another person, who the state won’t reveal any details about.

On Friday afternoon, Baylor University tweeted that the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District notified the university that one of the people tested is a student there who was recently in Wuhan, China, where 41 people have now died from the virus.

Texas A&M University announced Thursday that one of its students was also tested for the virus.

Texas A&M said it expects to find out whether its student has the coronavirus on Monday.

Until then, the university said the student is isolated, and staying in their own residence and did not visit the student health services facility.

As for the Baylor University student, a spokesperson for the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said there’s no word yet when test results for their student will return.

Baylor said Friday it moved the student to an isolated room on campus while he or she waits for test results, and that the residence hall in question has been sanitized.

On Friday, the CDC said a second person has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

She lives in Chicago and is being treated at a hospital where she is in stable condition.

The first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the virus is being treated in Seattle.

In all, the CDC said 63 patients have been tested nationwide in 22 different states.

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While two have tested positive, eleven people have been ruled out.

Results for the rest are pending.

Experts say the Coronavirus has been around for years, but a new strain has proven deadly after causing lower respiratory problems, impacting the lungs.

In North Texas, county health departments are reminding hospitals and doctors offices that if they see people who’ve travelled to Wuhan, China after December 1 and who have the coronavirus symptoms, they need to report it.

Dr. Philip Huang, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services said Friday, “This is our public health system at work. We do this every day whether it’s flu, whether it’s G.I. outbreaks. All of these things are a connection with our health providers, labs, the state health department, CDC.”

Dallas-Fort Worth Area Hospitals Now Screening Patients For Possible Contact With Coronavirus

The Tarrant County Public Health Department announced Friday that it has activated its Public Health Operations Center so its staff can work closely with the CDC and the State Department of Health Services.

MedStar Ambulance said it instituted new protocols Friday, including asking people who call 911 who report similar symptoms for the coronavirus if they recently traveled to Wuhan, China.

Matt Zavadsky, Medstar’s Chief Strategic Integration Officer said this will give MedStar a chance to alert its crews to take precautions. “Put a surgical mask on the patient to help protect those large water droplets in case they are coughing, sneezing. Then the crew is going to put on some specialized personal protective equipment, including a gown, a hyperticulate mask, goggles and gloves.”

Hospitals across the state are making sure their protocols are in place.

If someone goes to a hospital emergency room with the symptoms, they will be asked if they’ve recently traveled to Wuhan.

If so, they will be isolated.

At Methodist Dallas Medical Center, there are four negative pressure rooms, where doctors and nurses can isolate these patients and communicate with them through an intercom if necessary.

Negative pressure room at Methodist Dallas Medical Center (CBS 11)

Dr. Brad Sellers, Medical Director at the Emergency Department at Methodist Dallas, said with a negative pressure room, “When the doors are closed, it creates a negative pressure that prevents other people from being exposed to one of these high consequence infectious diseases.”

Sellers, Huang, and other doctors want to emphasize to the public they should not panic because the risk of getting the coronavirus in the U.S. is low.

The symptoms are similar to the flu: fever, headache, runny nose, a sore throat, and coughing.

But experts have said if people haven’t been to Wuhan, China recently, they’re much more likely to have the flu.

Dallas County reports 14 residents have died of the flu this season.

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To avoid getting it, doctors urge people to wash their hands often and stay away from people who are sick.