The Bell County Public Health District has identified a presumptive case of the novel coronavirus in Belton.


In a Friday morning news release, BCPHD said the case was identified late Thursday night, and is in the process of undergoing confirmatory testing with the CDC.

The 29-year-old individual, whose name was not released, traveled Barcelona and Paris between March 4 and March 10, BCPHD said. The agency has initiated self-isolation protocol and contact tracing. BCPHD is expected to release more information as new developments in the case arise.

As of Friday morning, Bell County is in Stage 2 of a three-stage action plan announced Thursday in Belton.

Stage 1:

  • Stay home if you're sick
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw that tissue away
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a disinfectant cleaner
  • Don't travel to areas with active community spread of COVID-19
  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and use hand sanitizers with at least 60% of alcohol content when soap and water are not available

Stage 2:

  • All Stage 1 measures
  • Active practice of "social distancing"
  • Avoiding contact with other people in both social and workplace settings

Stage 3:

  • All stage 1 and 2 measures
  • Bell County or the Bell County Public Health District may issue orders restricting or prohibiting mass gatherings or movement of people

Officials did not elaborate on the second measure of Stage 3 at Thursday's press briefing, other than to say it would likely involve provisions under state law allowing the county to restrict the movement of people through local disaster declarations.

At this point, it's important to emphasize that the case has not been confirmed. That doesn't mean we shouldn't practice the recommended health and safety measures, but we shouldn't panic either.

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