AUSTIN, Texas - A recent visitor from India to Austin has tested positive for coronavirus, but health experts and the city are saying the threat for coronavirus in the Austin area is still low.
The City of Austin's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said a person who visited Austin last week tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to India. However, officials say the risk to Austin residents is low because they do not believe this person contracted the virus while here in Austin.
“This patient was in Austin and then approximately eight days after being in Austin developed symptoms,” said Dr. John Bedolla, an associate professor at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.
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Dell Technologies confirmed the person is an employee with Dell India and while on their trip, visited the Round Rock campus.
According to Bedolla, who is following the virus and this case closely, the reason health experts don't think this person contracted the virus here is mostly due to timing from when they developed symptoms. “95 percent of people who get coronavirus, they develop symptoms 6 days of when they were exposed,” said Bedolla.
Bedolla said it's more likely they got the virus after leaving Austin. The city of Austin said they know the patient traveled to New York after leaving Austin but can't confirm where else they traveled to after they left the United States.
If the patient did have the virus before coming to Austin, Bedolla said it's very unlikely he was contagious at the time.
“It's in your body and it's rapidly dividing and multiplying your body but you're not transmitting it to the outside world yet,” said Bedolla. For it to be contagious he said the patients will already be showing symptoms.
“The vast majority of cases (for COVID 19) where it's passed from person to person are when someone is already sick, running a fever, coughing and sneezing and touching their face,” said Bedolla.
Dell said they have already contacted the hotels this person was staying at. As a precaution for coronavirus in general, they have increased how often their workspaces are cleaned and employees who can work from home are encouraged to do so.