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Frisco man tests 'presumptive positive' for COVID-19, Collin County health officials say

Collin County health officials said the man had recently traveled to California, but it's not known how he contracted the virus.

COLLIN COUNTY, Texas — This story has been updated here

A Frisco man who recently traveled to California has tested "presumptive positive" for COVID-19, Collin County health officials said Monday.

The patient is in his 30s, is in isolation in his home and is being monitored by county health staff, officials said. His symptoms have not required him to be hospitalized. 

It's important to keep in mind, health officials noted, that "the immediate risk of transmission in Collin County remains low."

During a news conference Monday, Collin County officials said the patient had traveled to California for a business trip and it is presumed he was in contact with someone who already had coronavirus. 

Officials said the Frisco man did not have any pre-existing health conditions and decided to get tested after experiencing flu-like symptoms.

The specific dates of his trip were not released during the news conference, but officials confirmed he visited Silicon Valley during late February and returned to North Texas in the first week of March. 

The patient's initial test was performed by a private lab, and he and his family will also be tested Monday by Dallas County, officials said during the news conference. 

“Anyone found to have had close contact to the patient will be contacted directly by county health care staff,” a news release stated.

"They're finding out travel patterns and where they've been, and they'll do a complete surveillance map on that patient," said Chief Mark Piland of Frisco Emergency Management.

The superintendent of Frisco ISD sent a letter to parents Monday because the patient's children attend school within the district. 

"It has come to our attention that an individual in our Tadlock parent community has tested positive for COVID-19. Over 1 million test kits have been sent to state health departments around the country and we fully expect to see the number of positive COVID-19 cases dramatically rise in the coming weeks.

Frisco ISD is currently working with the Collin County Health Department and Denton County Public Health on additional steps to help contain further exposure to our community for when our students return to school from spring break. We encourage our families to keep children at home when they are sick or experiencing a fever."

RELATED: Read the entire letter here 

There have been no changes to how first responders in Frisco are treating recent flu-like cases, Piland said, as they are continuing to use the same tactics they have in place for all infectious disease cases.

"We're responsible for planning for the worst, that's what we do," Piland said.

RELATED: What's a 'presumptive positive' coronavirus test?

A "presumptive positive" test result means local health workers have tested the patient and received a positive result, but the CDC has not confirmed a positive diagnosis. Now the CDC will work to confirm the patient's diagnosis for COVID-19.

Last week, local health officials announced labs in Dallas and Tarrant Counties recently gained the capability of being able to test for the virus.  

"Although availability is limited at this time, we will be working with our medical community to ensure the test is available for people who meet the case definition for COVID-19 testing," Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said in a written statement.  

Testing locally could yield same-day or next-day results, according to officials. 

RELATED: Labs in Dallas, Tarrant Counties now have capability of testing for coronavirus

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang also stated the department has been preparing for any level of response that may be needed.  

Last week, officials confirmed several patients in the Houston area are being treated for coronavirus. The patients were all part of a larger group of people who went on the trip to Egypt in February. 

Then, on Friday, the city of Austin, Texas, declared a major cancellation -- the annual South by Southwest film, media and music festival, which was set to take place from March 13-22.

"We are devastated to share this news with you," SXSW announced in a statement. "'The show must go on' is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation."

At this time there is no vaccine for COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. The virus is spread person-to-person.  

According to the CDC, spread is happening mainly between people who are in close contact (within 6 feet) of each other via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

The droplets land on the noses and mouths of other people, who then inhale them.  

The CDC says it may be possible for the virus to spread by touching a surface or object with the virus and then a person touching their mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main method of spread.  

As the virus was discovered just a few months ago, more research is required to learn more about the spread pattern of the virus. 

Health experts recommend taking the following preventative actions:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the US

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