FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Richard Hill
Senior Public Information Officer

Tarrant County Public Health
817-321-5306 direct
817-401-5967 cell
rwhill2@tarrantcounty.com

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First COVID-19 death recorded in Tarrant County

March 17, 2020 (Tarrant County, TX) – Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) today confirmed that a senior adult who died on Sunday, March 15 has tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.  The person was a resident of the Texas Masonic Retirement Center in Arlington.   

Information about the person’s residence is being released because the facility provides housing to retired persons and senior citizens who are most vulnerable to the effects of severe illnesses.  Tarrant County teams will work closely with the Retirement Center administration to assess the other residents and staff.

Tarrant County is investigating for the possible source of the infection and determining who the patient may have come into contact with while he was ill, so that any close contacts can be appropriately isolated, monitored for symptoms and tested as needed.

“On behalf of Tarrant County Public Health, I want to express our deepest sympathy to the family of this person,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja. Taneja declined to provide further details about the patient, citing HIPAA laws regarding confidentiality of health information.
COVID-19 causes respiratory illness with cough, fever, and shortness of breath, and may lead to bronchitis and severe pneumonia. United States has now over 4600 reported cases of COVID-19.

“We want residents of Tarrant County to continue to be mindful of basic preventive measures to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses,” Taneja said. These include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you experience difficulty breathing, or persistent fever, call your primary care provider.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces.

The City of Arlington’s Public Health Authority is working closely with Tarrant County as well as state and federal health authorities to monitor and respond to this evolving situation. “We are taking proactive measures and utilizing every resource available to us to help protect public health and prevent the spread of this disease in our community,” said Dr. Cynthia A. Simmons, Arlington’s public health authority.

COVID-19 has now spread to more than 100 countries.

For more information, visit coronavirus.tarrantcounty.com, or www.arlingtontx.gov/coronavirus or call Tarrant County Public Health: 817-248-6299 during business hours.

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News release date: March 17, 2020

TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS

County Telephone Operator 817-884-1111

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