By Meredith Pratt | Staff Writer
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Texas’ first case of coronavirus, referred to as COVID-19, on Thursday. It was the 15th case to be reported in the U.S., and the virus has infected over 71,000 people globally.
The infected patient had recently traveled to the Hubei Province, where Wuhan, China, is located. They were one of 600 travelers put into federal quarantine upon their arrival to the U.S.
After spending the federally required 14 days in quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base, the patient was moved to the Methodist Hospital in San Antonio where they are now receiving treatment.
According to chief medical officer at Methodist Healthcare System Dr. Paul Hancock the patient is currently “stable with mild symptoms.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services tweeted updates on Thursday about the confirmed case.
“This case does not change risk of infection for people in San Antonio or other parts of Texas because the patient has been under quarantine” they said. “The risk for all Texans remains low.”
Seth Christensen, spokesperson for the Texas Division of Emergency Management, said that, if the need arises, the state is equipped to provide the necessary care for infected patients.
“If you come up sick in Amarillo, you can get treatment just like you would in Dallas or in Houston or in Brownsville,” Christensen said. “We have to make sure that all the resources are spread across our state. This virus could impact anyone anywhere.”
According to Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, passengers flying into select airports in Dallas, Houston and El Paso will now be screened for the virus.
Approximately 400 U.S. passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship have been quarantined in Yokohama, Japan since Feb. 3, and thousands of passengers remain onboard. Of the cruise ship passengers, 44 have tested positive for the virus.
The U.S. Department of State sent two planes Sunday evening to evacuate American citizens from the cruise ship. One plane touched down early Monday morning at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California, and another landed at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio shortly after.
Despite testing positive for coronavirus, 14 of the 44 passengers who tested positive were allowed to fly back to the U.S. because they did not show symptoms. The infected patients will remain isolated from other quarantined passengers.
The relocation of patients to the San Antonio military base has caused some Texas residents to worry, particularly due to the recent coronavirus case that was confirmed last week.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.