Texas A&M student in isolation with possible coronavirus; CDC to test virus sample Friday


WACO, Texas (KWKT/KXAN) — The Brazos County Health District announced Thursday it’s investigating a possible case of coronavirus involving a student at Texas A&M University. But it said it considers Texas A&M low risk and that it’s safe for students to attend class.

The patient recently traveled from Wuhan, China, which is where the illness has killed at least 17 people and forced a shutdown of the entire city.

The district said health care providers were aware of the virus and quickly recognized the mild, flu-like symptoms in the patient. That person is being kept isolated at home while more testing is done.

According to Dr. Eric Wilke, the Brazos County health authority, the patient went to the hospital on Wednesday due to mild upper respiratory symptoms, and he was improving in condition before evaluation even began.

Wilke said samples of the student’s virus should arrive Friday morning at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for testing. Results should be back within 24 hours.

Wilke reiterated that any further concern hinges upon confirmation of the case.

He said the patient’s treatment wouldn’t change if the case is confirmed but positive confirmation would then lead to contact tracing and that anyone he may have come into contact with would be monitored.

“We’re running on the assumption that he attended classes,” Wilke said when asked whether Texas A&M classes were being notified of the possibility of contact with the patient. “We’re taking the conservative approach. I believe A&M was moving forward with all monitoring that needed to be in place.”

The general public is encouraged to practice these preventive actions:

• Everyone 6 months and older is encouraged to get a flu shot.
• 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.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Wilke said near the end of briefing that risks of further infection are “not one of concern.”

“We live in an international world,” said Wilke. “Viruses don’t typically like to travel borders.”

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