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The original item was published from 3/20/2020 2:15:00 PM to 3/20/2020 2:28:31 PM.

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Posted on: March 13, 2020

[ARCHIVED] GCHD Confirms Six Cases of Coronavirus in Galveston County

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On Friday, March 19, the Galveston County Health District (GCHD) confirmed  two additional positive COVID-19 cases in Galveston County residents, bringing the county’s case total to six. One of the six confirmed cases  is a League City resident. 

Of the two new cases, the first individual is a male in his 40s who recently traveled internationally. He presented to an area urgent care. He is currently self-quarantined in his home. The second individual is a female in her 50s. She presented to an area hospital and is self-quarantined at home. The woman has not recently traveled, but did come in contact with a person known to have traveled to a COVID-19 affected area. For confidentiality purposes, the health district is not releasing additional identifying information. GCHD is conducting epidemiological investigations and is working to quickly identify close contacts of the new cases. The health district does not comment on case specifics, including the person’s city of residence or what businesses they may have visited.

“We’ve seen an increase in positive COVID-19 test results this past week,” said Galveston County Local Health Authority Dr. Philip Keiser. “I understand each positive case we announce may be of concern to the community, but it is important that we ramp up testing in the county so that we can identify those who are positive. That’s going to result in more announcements.”

THE GCHD recommends the following hygiene practices:

  • 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 with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. If tissues are not available, cough and sneeze in your elbow. Do not cough and sneeze in your hands.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Also practice social distancing:

  • Avoid all gatherings of 10 or more people.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet separation from others.
  • Limit contact with people outside of your household.  Avoid social visits.
  • Limit visits and keep your distance from older relatives, especially those who are at a higher risk for developing serious COVID-19 illness.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel.


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Help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. If tissues are not available, cough and sneeze in your elbow. Do not cough and sneeze in your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • 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 with at least 60 percent alcohol.


The CDC recommends avoiding gatherings of 10 people or more. This includes gatherings likely to include 10 or more people at high-risk for serious illness. People at higher risk include older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions such as lung and heart disease, as well as diabetes.

An initial investigation shows the man has not recently traveled or come into contact with another infected person. This suggests the first signs of community spread in Galveston County. For confidentiality purposes, GCHD is not releasing additional identifying information about the man. GCHD is conducting an epidemiological investigation and is working to quickly identify close contacts of the man.

GCHD is strongly encouraging event organizers to take a moment and consider if their events or conferences may be held virtually or postponed.

“We do know social distancing helps reduce the risk of infection in the community the sooner you do it,” said Galveston County Local Health Authority Dr. Philip Keiser. “We want people to think through the particulars of their event. Do you have participants who are in an extremely high-risk group? Think about what the risk is to you and the elderly and high-risk people you may be around. You may not be at a high risk, but who are you around when you leave? The elderly? Those with compromised immune systems? We really want people to focus on the particular risk. It’s not always tied to a particular number.”

People at higher risk include older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions such as lung and heart disease, as well as diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends canceling all events of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks and in areas where there is even minimal COVID-19, events likely to include 10 or more people at high-risk for serious issues should be cancelled.

This may include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings and more. This recommendation does not apply to day-to-day operation of organizations like schools, institutes of higher learning or businesses.

There are steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones protected:

  • 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 with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. If tissues are not available, cough and sneeze in your elbow. Do not cough and sneeze in your hands.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Get a flu shot. The flu vaccine does not offer protection against COVID-19, but it is also flu season.

Call your healthcare provider if you are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath and are concerned you have  come in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient or have a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset.

“It is important that you call first so they can evaluate your risk and determine if they need to see you in person so that other patients are not potentially put at risk,” Keiser said.

For more information on COVID-19, visit www.gchd.org/coronavirus. If you have questions about COVID-19, please call the GCHD information call center at 409.938.7221, option 1.

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