MATAGORDA COUNTY, Texas — A Matagorda County COVID-19 patient died Sunday, becoming the first coronavirus-related death in Texas.
According to Matagorda County health officials, the man was in his 90s.
Officials said the man died at Matagorda Regional Medical Center and was experiencing "symptoms consistent with COVID-19."
Texas Department of State Health Services said is investigating the source of the infection and determining who the patient came into contact with while he was sick so any close contacts can be isolated, monitored for symptoms and tested, as needed.
“We are deeply saddened today to learn that a fellow Texan has died from COVID-19,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a release Tuesday morning. “The First Lady and I send our deepest condolences and prayers to the family and loved ones during their time of mourning. The State of Texas remains vigilant in our efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and will continue to do all we can to protect our most vulnerable populations and ensure that Texans have access to testing and treatment resources.”
People who are 65 or older or who have an underlying health condition like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer have a higher risk of developing severe disease if they do get COVID-19. The safest thing for them during an outbreak is to stay home as much as possible and minimize close contact with other people. People in those groups who get sick should contact a health care provider as soon as possible and follow their instructions.
“A death in Texas shows the gravity of the situation,” Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner, said. “It’s critically important for us all to take actions that will help protect our most vulnerable citizens. By working together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and help ensure the health care system will be able to care for those who need it most.”
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...
- The air by coughing or 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.
Help stop the spread of coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Eat and sleep separately from your family members
- Use different utensils and dishes
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
- If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
Lower your risk
- 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.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.
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