Houston Health Department announces first COVID-19 recoveries

by Kerrie Kennedy

Texas Medical Center

The Houston Health Department announced today that two Houston residents, who were the city’s first two COVID-19 cases, have both successfully recovered from the virus.

While privacy protection laws only permit the release of limited patient information, the man and woman, both in the 60 to 70 age range, are considered recovered from the disease after each tested negative twice, more than 24 hours apart.

Despite the good news, the health department also announced a new positive COVID-19 case, bringing the city’s total to 24. The case, a female in the 20 to 30 age range, has no known travel history. She is recovering at home and the department is working to identify potential contacts who may have been exposed to this patient.

Meanwhile, the city is recommending that all Houstonians continue to practice social distancing measures, including:

  • 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 spreads 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; or touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

As the pandemic continues to infect Americans, researchers are beginning to understand that the coronavirus is establishing itself and spreading through clusters of  family and extended family.

“If you look, most cases, for example, even in China, are in family clusters. Most secondary cases occur in families,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said during a news conference last month. “That’s been driving the epidemic.”

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