First case of COVID-19 confirmed in Abilene

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The first case of the COVID-19 has been confirmed in Abilene.

During a press conference Thursday morning, officials with Hendrick Medical Center and the City of Abilene said a patient that has been in quarantine that was highly suspected of having the virus had his test return positive around 7:30 a.m.

The patient, identified as a 40-year-old-man, went to the ER when he started showing symptoms, including shortness of breath, about 24 hours ago and has been in quarantine ever since. He is currently in stable condition.

Epidemiologists are now working to determine if the virus was contracted by travel or through the community and trying to trace where the victim went in the community.

Health Department Director Annette Lerma says the patient has been notified, so anyone out there with a pending test shouldn’t worry if it’s them.

City leaders say they have been acting as if there were already a positive case in the community, and that this comes as no surprise.

They’ve been working hard to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The only thing the public can do at this point is practice social distancing and good hygiene.

Mayor Anthony Williams says he still doesn’t see the need to issue a shelter in place order at this time.

He also wanted to emphasize that the test was administered 24 hours ago, came back positive the next morning, and the public was notified as soon as possible.

While this is the only confirmed positive case, Hendrick Medical Center says they are treating 5-8 patients as if they have the virus out of an abundance of caution.

That number of patients changes as negative results return and additional patients are admitted to the hospital.

Tests are taking an average of 1 day to 1 week to return with results because they are sent to labs outside of the City of Abilene.

Hendrick Health System issued the following statement regarding the positive test Thursday afternoon:

This morning, Hendrick Medical Center was notified that a patient of high probability had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Our entire staff has been working tirelessly behind the scenes preparing for the probability of COVID-19 in our community,” said Brad Holland. “For more than a month, our focus has been to ‘prepare for the worst and pray for the best.’ To date, our infection control department and COVID-19 task force actions have predominately been focused on infrastructure, supply chain, infection prevention and education, patient and visitor flow, surge capacity planning and communications. We will continue these efforts as we shift to patient care for those testing positive.”

As a cautionary measure, we have taken immediate steps to identify staff who may have been exposed and place them on home quarantine as appropriate with our full support, and we will provide additional staffing as needed.

“We have been preparing for this, and are now following our protocols,” said Holland.

BigCountryHomepage will update this article if additional information is released.

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