State Capitol Highlights

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Governor responds to Chinese virus

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AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 30 commented on a White House briefing about actions to stem the transmission of novel coronavirus in the United States.

Speakers at the briefing concerning the outbreak of the new respiratory illness that originated in Wuhan, China, included U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar; Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

“The State of Texas is continuing to collaborate with our local, state and federal partners as updates come in on the status of the coronavirus,” Abbott said. “Our local communities will have the resources they need to respond to any potential cases of the coronavirus in their area, and we remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of all Texans.”

On Jan. 27, Abbott met with state health and emergency management officials for a briefing on the same topic. “The Lone Star State will remain vigilant to protect the health and safety of all Texans,” Abbott said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is working with local health departments to assess people with respiratory illness and recent travel to the province of Hubei, China, for possible 2019 novel coronavirus testing.

The DSHS said travelers should monitor themselves for symptoms and contact their health care provider if they develop fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of being in Hubei.

The agency urged Texas health care professionals to ask patients with respiratory symptoms about their travel history and contact their local or regional health department if they think a patient may have novel coronavirus. The state had not posted the number of diagnosed cases of the disease in Texas as of Feb. 2.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to novel coronavirus — precautions which are similar to those the agency recommends to avoid influenza.