Man back from California is 1st coronavirus case near Dallas

Coronavirus Crisis.
Coronavirus Crisis. (WDIV)

FRISCO, Texas – A man who recently traveled to California received a presumptive positive test for the new coronavirus, making him the first person in Texas known to have potentially contracted the virus within the U.S., health officials said Monday.

Collin County officials said in a statement that the Frisco man was in his late 30s and was in stable condition at home. A dozen cases have been previously identified around Houston, where all the cases have been related to travelers on a recent Egyptian cruise, said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The Frisco man had been in the Silicon Valley area last week on a business trip and presumably had come into contact with someone carrying the virus, Collin County Judge Chris Hill said at a news conference. The man also has children in the local school district, Hill said.

Meanwhile, Rice University in Houston has canceled all in-person classes this week after a university employee was identified as one of the dozen Houston-area COVID-19 cases. Rice crisis managers and its faculty senate are working on plans for teaching courses remotely. Next week is Rice's spring break and no classes are scheduled.

In the wake of Friday's cancellation of Austin's annual South By Southwest arts, music and technology festival as a precaution against the spread of the virus, the event organizers on Monday laid off about 50 full-time employees, about one-third of its full-time staff. "We are planning for the future and this was a necessary, but heartbreaking step,” said a SXSW statement.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause severe complications, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.

Texas lawmakers are scheduled to meet in Austin on Tuesday to discuss the state's preparedness for the new virus. Some other legislative meetings have been canceled in light of health concerns.

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