Houston Health Department Reports Houston's First COVID-19 Death

The Houston Health Department reported today the first coronavirus (COVID-19) death in Houston.

The resident was a woman with several underlying health conditions in the 60 to 70 age range. She died at a local hospital Tuesday, March 24. The department received test results today confirming the woman as a COVID-19 case.

“It’s unfortunate that our city has lost one of its residents because of the spread of this virus,” said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department” “The City of Houston and the health department extend their deepest condolences to the patient’s family and friends.”

The department launched an investigation today to 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.

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

The department urges people to follow social distancing guidance to reduce their risk of a COVID-19 infection:

  • Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of separation from other people.
  • Avoid eating or drinking in bars, restaurants, and food courts – use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options.
  • Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
  • Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical care situations.
  • Practice healthy hygiene habits:
    • 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 with unwashed hands.
    • 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, especially if you are at higher risk for coronavirus.
    • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.
  • Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.

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.

Houstonians may visit HoustonEmergency.org/covid19 for updated information about local risk, routine protective actions, frequently asked questions, communication resources, rumor control, emergency preparedness tips and more.

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