Rumor Control

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Harris County Coronavirus Rumor Control

A new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was recently detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness. The current risk of contracting the virus in the United States remains low. However, Harris County is working closely with Harris County Public Health, The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in monitoring developments. Any confirmed cases will be promptly reported to the public. Novel Coronavirus is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. To stay up-to-date on information, please refer to CDC who provides information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance.

Unfortunately, the uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus outbreak has led to misinformation and unsubstantiated rumors regarding the virus in Harris County. Currently, there are no confirmed cases in Harris County. It is vital that residents rely on trusted and reliable health sources of information regarding novel coronavirus. Misinformation and rumors have spread quickly on social media, thus it may not be the most reliable source of information.  Residents concerned about novel coronavirus can check and share this page for updates and visit the following websites:

RUMOR: People in Houston have tested positive for the novel coronavirus after coming into contact with a visitor from China and are currently in an “isolation ward.”

False. There are zero cases of novel coronavirus in Houston or Harris County. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of contracting coronavirus remains low in the United States. Any confirmed cases of novel coronavirus will be promptly disclosed to the public should they occur.

We are still in an active Flu season, however, and residents are encouraged to take every day preventative steps to avoid spreading respiratory illnesses by covering your cough, washing hands frequently, and staying home if you are sick. For a list of steps to take click here.

RUMOR: It is unsafe to travel to Chinatown due to the novel coronavirus.

False. There is currently no reason for residents in Harris County to take out-of-the ordinary precautions related to novel coronavirus in any Asian businesses. Businesses are safe to visit. As always, routine healthy habits help prevent the spread of the flu, and other viruses. Seasonal flu is always a real concern and has caused more than 12 thousand deaths, including 78 children, from October 1, 2019 – February 1, 2020. Flu season begins in October and can last as long as May.

RUMOR: An employee at a business in Chinatown in Southwest Houston has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

False. There are zero cases of coronavirus in Houston or Harris County. It is safe to visit businesses across the region.

RUMOR: I should wear a mask to protect myself from the novel coronavirus.

False. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For additional information on the prevention and treatment of coronavirus, visit the CDC website here.

RUMOR: People traveling to the US from China are spreading novel coronavirus.

False. The United States government is taking unprecedented steps to prevent and control the spread of novel coronavirus in the United States. A Presidential Proclamation on novel coronavirus mandates new travel procedures. Foreign nationals, people who are citizens of any country other than the United States, who have visited China within the last 14 days are not being allowed into the U.S. United States citizens, permanent residents, and their families who have visited China within the last 14 days are being allowed to enter the United States but are being redirected to one of 11 airports for health screenings. Depending on their health and travel history, they will have some level of restrictions placed on their movements for 14 days from the time they left China. Fourteen days is the maximum incubation period for novel coronavirus.

RUMOR: The flu vaccine can protect me against novel coronavirus.

False. The flu shot (vaccine) won’t protect against coronavirus. We are still in an active Flu season, however, and residents are encouraged to get a flu vaccine, taking every day preventative steps to avoid spreading respiratory illnesses by covering your cough, washing hands, and staying home if you are sick. For a list of steps to take click here.

Rumor: Is it true there is a case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in San Antonio?

True. There is an individual who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) that came on a State Department-chartered flight from China and was under a federal quarantine order at JBSA-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. The individual is currently isolated and receiving medical care at a designated hospital.