Houston Health Department

Houston Health Department announces five new COVID-19 cases


March 18, 2020

HOUSTON — The Houston Health Department announced five new positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID -19) cases on Wednesday, bringing the city’s total to 10.

The cases are:

  • Male | Age 50-60 | No known travel | Hospitalized
  • Male | Age 70-80 | Travel to New York | Home Recovering
  • Male | Age 50-60 | Travel to Spain | Home Recovering
  • Female | Age 20-30 | Travel to Mexico | Hospitalized
  • Male | Age 60-70 | No known travel | Hospitalized

Positive COVID-19 test results from the department’s laboratory no longer require confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The department will now use the phrase “positive COVID-19 case.”

Investigations conducted by the department will identify potential contacts exposed to the virus. The department will provide close contacts guidance about the virus and monitor them for the development of symptoms.

While COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus, daily precautions recommended to prevent respiratory illnesses are the same:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you can't wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, use the elbow of your sleeve.
  • Don’t use your hands to cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick and keep children home when they are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get a flu shot. (Although the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it is flu season.)

People who recently returned from geographic areas with COVID 19 need to monitor for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for at least 14 days and seek medical care right away if they develop symptoms. Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, symptomatic people must call ahead to inform healthcare professionals about their recent travel and symptoms.

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing.
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

Privacy protection laws only permit the release of limited patient information. The health department is unable to release any additional patient information.

Houstonians may visit HoustonEmergency.org for updated information about local risk, routine protective actions, frequently asked questions, communication resources, rumor control, emergency preparedness tips and more.