Covenant Health: Around 10 Patients Have Been Tested for COVID-19, All Were Negative
Covenant Health on Wednesday reiterated that so far, no cases of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, have been confirmed at any of their facilities or clinics. The hospital revealed that they've tested "around 10 patients" to date.
The coronavirus was confirmed to be in Lubbock County late Tuesday afternoon (March 17th) by the City of Lubbock and University Medical Center.
Two people tested positive for COVID-19 -- one from Lubbock County, and one from Hockley County. Both are believed to have contracted it while traveling, said The City of Lubbock, adding that the cases aren't related to each other.
The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was reported January 21st, 2020 in Washington. As of March 18th, nearly two months later, there are 7,038 cases across all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with 97 deaths, according to the CDC. Texas right now has at least 64 reported cases and 1 death.
Covenant Health issued the below FAQ Wednesday morning to address questions residents may have regarding the coronavirus and how to keep their families safe.
1) There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at any Covenant Health hospital, urgent care center, clinic, etc. Around ten patients have been tested so far.
2) Test results can take one to three days to be returned. The test is run locally by the City of Lubbock Health Department. A positive test will be returned within 24 hours while a negative result will be confirmed within three days. A negative test is run twice to ensure accuracy.
3) Visitors at all Covenant Health ministries (locations) will be limited. Leaders at Covenant Health have decided the best way to prevent unnecessary exposure to the virus is to limit the amount of people coming in and out of our facilities. This policy is changing frequently. Please reference our social media for our current visitor policy.
4) Social distancing is recommended. Viruses are more easily transmitted in small places with close contact. Doctors recommend avoiding areas with large numbers of people. Six feet of distance is the recommended safe distance according to experts.
5) COVID-19 is more fatal than flu, as of right now. Currently, data on how many people die from COVID-19 versus how many people actually have the disease is still being collected. Remember, in healthy adults, COVID-19 can present like any other virus, meaning they may not have been tested for the illness and therefore data goes uncollected. The death rate (number of deaths / number of cases) is probability of dying if infected by the virus. The chance of a person over 50 dying from the disease is significantly higher than a person under the age of 50. And the death rate is higher with each decade of life. Currently, the global death rate for any person over 80 is 21%. Those over the age of 50, men, pregnant women, and those with underlying health issues such as chronic illnesses, are at the highest risk of complications or death due to COVID-19. (All data provided by the World Health Organization)
6) Information on COVID-19 is constantly evolving. Covenant Health is receiving information from the CDC and other public/government health entities multiple times a day. We are doing our best to sort through that information as quickly possible, while still ensuring accuracy in our communication to our community. We will be sharing important information with our community as it becomes available.
7) The public can help by being vigilant, educated, and calm. Get information from approved sources such as the CDC, local health department, and hospital websites. Follow precautions such as good hand washing and avoiding travel to identified hot spots. Finally, stay calm. Local health care providers are prepared to handle patients should they present with COVID-19.
Just before news broke that the coronavirus was in Lubbock, three local superintendents announced they would extend spring break through March 30th.
Superintendents Michelle McCord, Kathy Rollo and Keith Bryant (Frenship ISD, Lubbock ISD and Lubbock-Cooper ISD, respectively) also said parents who're uncomfortable sending their children back on March 30th could elect to keep them home on the condition they informed the school district. There would be no penalty applied to students' attendance in this case.
Many businesses in Lubbock have also been impacted by the push for social distancing, including Cinemark Theaters, Alamo Drafthouse, Planet Fitness. Grocery stores including United Supermarkets and Market Street, have changed their store hours and placed purchase limits on certain items.
For more information on COVID-19, visit the CDC website.