Local concerns amid the coronavirus outbreak have reached higher levels following Monday’s news that a Frisco man was identified as a “presumptive positive” case for the novel COVID-19. The patient, a Frisco man in his 30s who recently returned from California, is under quarantine and being monitored by Collin County health officials. 

“Collin County Health Care Services (CCHCS) will await further testing to confirm the initial results, since the patient’s symptoms have not required hospitalization,” Collin County spokesperson Tim Wyatt said in a prepared statement.

Collin County Health officials are also monitoring the man’s family and working to identify any people who may have been exposed while the Frisco man was infectious.

On Tuesday, health officials announced that the Frisco man, his wife and their 3-year-old child all tested positive for COVID-19.

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent COVID-19.

According to CCHCS, the immediate risk of COVID-19’s transmission in Collin County and surrounding areas remains low, but local officials are still taking precautions.  

“We currently have a cumulative number of 25 people under monitoring,” said Jennifer Rainey of Denton County Public Health. “[These] are people we are asking to stay home under quarantine…after 14 days, they are able to go back to work, as long as they don’t have symptoms.”

Outside of that, Denton County health department is partnering with local organizations and launching social media campaigns to promote basic hygienic practices and other measures of disease prevention. 

Area school districts are also engaging in similar messaging. According to a mass email sent by Frisco ISD, the district has “been working with our staff and students to reinforce the importance of handwashing, proper hygiene and manually cleaning of surfaces with wipes and disinfectants.”

Meanwhile, in an open letter, Allen ISD is  taking on the same precautions, adding, “Allen ISD has trained, registered nurses at each campus with protocols in place to handle communicable illnesses common to school districts like influenza (flu), pertussis (whooping cough), strep throat, and more.”

On March 8, Plano ISD issued a “Important COVID-19 Notice for Spring Break Travelers,” requesting that students who are traveling to countries added on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s  Level 2 and Level 3 lists (i.e. China, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran) to stay home for 14 days upon return. 

As school districts and public health officials do their part to sequester the disease, local hospitals are also prepared. Dallas-based Children’s Health hospital network has been screening for travel areas affected by the virus since January 10, said Virginia Hock of the Dallas-based Children’s Health hospital network.

“If someone shows symptoms of this virus, we have clear protocols and standard operating procedures in place and follow guidance from local health departments and the [CDC],” Hock said.  

And while there is no vaccine currently available, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of the virus: 

  • 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. (Good luck finding them for a reasonable price.)
  • 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.

For questions, please call Collin County Health Services during business hours at 972-548-4707. After business hours please call Sheriff’s dispatch at 972-547-5350. 

For more information on COVID 19, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html

Garrett Gravley

Garrett Gravley is a Dallas-based writer, journalist and music critic. His work has appeared in the Dallas Observer, D Magazine, and Central Track.