Texas man tests positive for coronavirus in Fort Bend County

(AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
(AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy) (AP)

The state's first coronavirus case identified outside of a Texas quarantine site is a man in his 70s who lives in the Houston area, Fort Bend County health officials said Wednesday.

The man recently traveled abroad, county officials said, he has been hospitalized and is in stable condition.

“The presumptive case is actionable and we are treating it as a positive," the county's statement said. "Fort Bend County Health & Human Services has started an epidemiological investigation and is leading the effort to quickly identify close contacts with the individual.”

If the presumptive case is confirmed, it would be the 12th instance of coronavirus in Texas. The other cases have all been people who caught the COVID-19 disease overseas and were quarantined at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The base has been designated as one of the nation's quarantine centers for people considered at risk of being exposed to the virus overseas. On Tuesday, more than 120 people were released after being cleared after being cleared by health authorities.

“Remaining calm is of utmost importance,” the Fort Bend County statement said. Local health officials urged people not to visit the emergency room unless necessary and to wash hands, cover sneezes and coughs and stay home when sick.

Here’s what you need to know to help keep yourself and others safe:

Symptoms of the coronavirus

With COVID-19, there are several symptoms that could indicate a person who has been exposed is coming down with the virus. They generally appear between two and 14 days after exposure, the CDC states.

According to the CDC, these symptoms include:

  • Mild to severe respiratory illness
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu. Most strains of coronavirus — like a common cold or flu — are not fatal, but this is the first time officials have seen this particular strain of it, named COVID-19.

How to prevent the spread of germs

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes and keep your hands clean

When it comes to prevention, treat COVID-19 like the flu, which is still currently a bigger risk in the United States than COVID-19, the Surgeon General previously said.

One of the primary ways the virus spreads is through droplets and surfaces like counters or tables. Use disinfecting wipes to clean commonly touched surfaces and kill germs.

As you would with any other illness, make sure you wash your hands consistently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, CDC officials say.

  • Health officials recommend only wearing a face mask if you’re sick

Stockpiling face masks keep them out of the hands of healthcare workers, who need them most.

More coronavirus headlines: