57 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Texas, and counting

Since Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster on Friday, there are now 83 confirmed cases being reported in Texas, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, and 2 dead.

The Texas DSHS is tracking cases of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. DSHS updates the state case count daily by noon central time.

Public health departments are working to identify any close contacts of the patients while they were sick so they can be isolated and monitored for symptoms and quickly tested, if needed, DSHS states.

Abbott said that Texas Public Health Labs have the capacity to test over 270 people per day, with more private labs coming online daily.

The city of San Antonio also opened the first drive-through testing facility in Texas. It serves first responders, healthcare workers, operators of critical infrastructure and key resources, and certain high-risk patients. Other major cities are working to implement drive-through testing sites that will be run and managed at the local level, the governor’s office said.

About 100 passengers onboard the Grand Princess cruise are quarantined at the Lackland Air Force Base.

Most public schools are closed through March 30. Along with the cancellation of Austin’s SXSW, the Houston Rodeo was also canceled due to coronavirus concerns. One person who tested positive for COVID-19 attended one of the rodeo events.

As of noon Wednesday, Dallas County had the greatest number of confirmed cases at 15, followed by Harris County (10), Fort Bend (9), Collin (6), Smith, Tarrant and Montgomery (5 each), Travis, Denton and Bexar (4 each), Montgomery and El Paso (3 each), and Galveston and Brazoria (2 each). Counties with one case each confirmed are Bell, Gregg, Hays, Lavaca, and Matagorda.

That number has since increased to Dallas having the greatest number of 15, with other counties also reporting increases.

While symptoms are mild for most, the elderly and individuals with other health conditions can see more severe symptoms.

The DSHS recommends steps everyone can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • 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 and surfaces.

Declaring a State of Disaster enables the governor to authorize the use of all available and necessary state government resources, activate the state emergency management plan and the State Operations Center to enhance the state’s planning and response capabilities, give TDEM the ability to reassign and fully utilize appropriate personnel, provide the immediate ability to move resources around the state, and empower the Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG) to pursue cases of price-gouging and ensure that offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

This is a revised article first published by The Center Square.

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