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6 People Under Self-Quarantine At University Of Houston For COVID-19 Concerns

Ezekiel W. Cullen Building
Ed Castillo
Houston Public Media
Ezekiel W. Cullen Building at the University of Houston. Taken Jan. 27, 2020.

Six people at the University of Houston are self-quarantined after returning from trips overseas to countries identified by health officials as at risk for the new strain of coronavirus, the school said Thursday.

The quarantined students and faculty members self-quarantined out of “an abundance of caution” after trips to to South Korea and Italy, both on the CDC’s travel advisory for countries that have experienced cases of the virus known as COVID-19, according to Mike Rosen, an associate vice president for communications at the school.

The university did not identify how long the six people had been under quarantine.

According to UH policy, all people associated with the school who have traveled to a country on the CDC Level 2 or 3 travel warning list are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, whether the travel is for personal or university reasons. During the quarantine, access to University campuses or activities is prohibited, according to the school. The news comes days after 17 people were asked to self-quarantine at Rice University.

Just one presumptive positive case of COVID-19 has been found in a Texas resident. On Wednesday, a 70-year-old Fort Bend County man was announced to have the virus after travel abroad. That unidentified man was hospitalized and in stable condition Wednesday, and results taken from the Houston Health Department were being verified by the CDC.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks with officials
Credit Matt Harab / Houston Public Media
Houston Public Media
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks with officials at a Thursday morning meeting activating emergency operations at TranStar, amid concerns about COVID-19.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and other city, state and county representatives called an emergency preparedness meeting at Houston TranStar Thursday, where they discussed plans about how local governments and hospital systems would communicate in the case of new risk cases and presumptive positive cases emerged.

The risk to the public is currently low, and there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in Houston or Harris County. But officials prepared for likely additional cases.

At a press conference Thursday officials from Harris County told people to go about their lives normally, but if feeling sick to go to a primary care doctor, not the emergency room.

The Houston Health Department does now have the ability to test for COVID-19, though officials stressed the test does have to be ordered by a practitioner.

Hidalgo said the county has activated its emergency operations center, as they set in motion plans to contain the virus. Harris County is working with health officials from Fort bend County, Houston the state and CDC, she added.

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