LUBBOCK, Texas – The first case of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, was confirmed in Texas.
The patient returned on a charter flight from China on February 7 and is currently under quarantine.
“We have prepared for just this sort of eventuality for a long time,” Dr. John William Hellerstedt, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services said. “We’ve done it at the national level, state level and coordinated with our local partners. And, what you see in front of you, is that system working exactly as planned.”
In Lubbock, doctors say we’re likely going to start seeing more illnesses across the U.S.
“These viruses have been around a long time, even though it appears that this is basically spreading all over the place and probably will continue to be seen with some frequency, especially since it’s spread person to person,” said Dr. Richard Winn, with Texas Tech Physicians.
There have been no suspected or confirmed cases in or around Lubbock.
“Right now I’m not worried,” Dr. Richard M. Lampe, with Texas Tech Physicians, said. “In the United States, I would worry — I worry more about influenza and patients every day that I see than I do about coronavirus.”
The Texas Tech Health Sciences Center follows the protocol from the Centers for Disease Control if they think someone at the hospital is infected.
“When they do decide to do testing if they think you’ve had possible exposure to the coronavirus, then they will do nasal swabs throat swabs and they’ll send a blood sample to the CDC, none of the testings is done here locally, it’s all at the CDC,” said Dr. Jacob Nichols with Texas Tech Physicians.
Doctors in Lubbock said they are ready for a worst-case scenario situation, but aren’t worried about the spread here.
“Now the good news is that, as far as I am aware, we haven’t had any deaths reported in the United States,” Dr. Winn said. “And, to my knowledge, I don’t think we’ve had any other reported deaths anywhere else in the world other than in China, thus far.”