Two new cases of the coronavirus confirmed in Houston area

MGN Online

By Alex Samuels, Texas Tribune

Local officials confirmed two new cases Thursday of the coronavirus in Harris County. The new confirmed cases come one day after a man tested positive for the virus in Fort Bend County; however, the cases are not related.

According to a news release, the two newest cases in the Houston metropolitan area — a man and a woman from northwest Harris County — are travel-related, and officials said there is no evidence of community spread of the virus in Texas. The first 11 cases in Texas were among people who caught the COVID-19 disease overseas and then were brought to the San Antonio Lackland Air Force Base for quarantine.

“Since January, we have been at an elevated level of readiness to prepare for and respond to a positive case here in Harris County,” Harris County Public Health Executive Director Umair Shah said in a statement. “We will continue to take action by identifying potential contacts and monitoring them closely.”

On Wednesday, a man in his 70s who recently traveled abroad and lives in the Houston area became the state’s first coronavirus case identified outside of a Texas quarantine site. He has been hospitalized and is in stable condition.

Earlier this afternoon, state health officials said that six Texas public health labs are capable of testing for the new coronavirus. Another four labs are expected to begin testing nose and mouth swabs from patients to determine if they have the virus, Gov. Greg Abbott said, but testing capacity remains limited.