GREGG COUNTY, TEXAS (KLTV) - Gregg County is home to the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in East Texas, according to the Northeast Texas Public Health District.
The test result was confirmed late Monday afternoon by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.
According to officials, the patient traveled within the continental United States, has mild illness, and is currently isolated and recovering in their home. The immediate risk of transmission in Gregg County remains low, and officials have found no evidence of community spread.
Officials said the patient came to an unspecified CHRISTUS Good Shepherd emergency room last Tuesday, March 3, and was isolated following a screening.
“Our personnel, both in our emergency department location and the hospital, used all CDC recommended guidelines and personal protective equipment to prevent not only them from coming into contact with the disease, but potentially transmitting it as well," said Mark Anderson, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System.
Anderson said the patient spent 48 hours at their facility before being released in “good condition” on Thursday, March 5.
“Please know the individual in question did not contract the virus within our community and has been in self-isolation for the last two weeks,” Gregg Co. Judge Bill Stoudt said.
The patient is currently recovering and maintaining contact with the hospital at his home. Many of the people he came into contact with before the diagnosis are also in isolation, according to Lewis Browne with the Gregg County Health Department.
“He’s improving daily at his house, and I think he’s getting bored," Browne said.
Officials are not releasing information about the patient’s age, specific area of residence, or where they traveled to.
The transmission risk remains in low in Gregg County and county officials encourage residents to do their part.
“Everyone can do something to help," Gregg Co. Judge Bill Stoudt said. "From staying home when you’re sick to washing your hands.”
The following information was provided by NET Health:
Human coronaviruses are most commonly spread through respiratory droplets. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. People at higher risk for serious complications are those with underlying health conditions and with people over the age of 65. Health care providers and epidemiologists will remain in contact with this confirmed individual, as well as with anyone that interacted with this individual, if they believe they may be at risk of infection. Gregg County residents are reminded to take the same measures that are recommended annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory viruses. These include:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases. If you are experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, been exposed to a sick traveler from China, or been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, contact your healthcare provider.