First two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Austin-Travis County

Areeba Amer

Editor’s note: This story is part of The Daily Texan’s coverage of how coronavirus concerns are affecting UT-Austin. Read the rest of our coverage here.

The city of Austin confirmed the first two presumptive positive cases of the new coronavirus in Travis County early Friday morning in a press release.

The cases did not come from community spread, meaning they did not come from an unknown infected person, according to the release. No further information was given regarding the origin of the cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a case is considered presumptive positive when a test is ruled positive by a local lab and confirmed when a CDC lab then confirms the test as positive.

Mayor Steve Adler, Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County interim health authority, and Stephanie Hayden, Austin Public Health director, will hold a press conference at 6 a.m. at Austin City Hall to discuss the cases, the release said.  

The confirmation now puts Austin Public Health’s response to Phase 3 of the five-phase plan to coordinate COVID-19 response activities, according to the city of Austin website. Previously, Austin Public Health was in Phase 2 for “Persons Under Investigation (Testing in Progress).” The plan will go to Phase 4 is if there is limited person-to-person spread, according to the website. 

Escott said in the release the case is not surprising, and the city of Austin and Travis County have been prepared for this.

“It is critical that the community continue to heed our recommendations and take personal hygiene seriously,” Escott said. “This will be the key to ensuring that this virus doesn’t spread.”

No additional changes have been made to the current regulations, such as the city ban on mass gatherings until May 1, according to the release.

This story has been updated to clarify on the definition of presumptive positve.