Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect an additional coronavirus case announced late Tuesday night.
Dallas County health officials confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the county has its first presumptive positive case of the coronavirus. By Tuesday night, they announced a second.
The first patient, a press release from Dallas County Health and Human Services says, is a 77-year-old out-of-state traveler “with an extensive travel history and is being treated at a Dallas-area hospital.”
“The individual was immediately identified and isolated at the hospital and appropriate personal protective equipment was worn by hospital personnel.”
The county said it would not release more information about the patient or the patient’s location, citing privacy laws.
The second person is in their 50s, the county said, and is a close contact of the first patient.
“Cases of COVID-19 in the ninth-largest county and the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the country were not unexpected,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “This test result is considered presumptive positive until it is confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
“DCHHS has completed contact tracing and has directly notified anyone who was in close contact with the individual while they were in Texas,” he added.
DCHHS director Philip Huang agreed that the case was not unexpected.
“We have been watching the numbers increase across the U.S. and have been preparing for this event,” he said. “We are working with all local, regional, and statewide health authorities to monitor the situation and update the public.”
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said he remained “confident in our collective ability” to handle any coronavirus cases.
“Right now, Dallas residents should practice preventive measures,” he said. “All of our residents should listen to the advice of public health professionals and take precautions, such as washing your hands thoroughly, avoiding contact with people who are sick, and staying home when ill.”