The upper-respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus strain has claimed two lives in Fort Bend County.
On Friday afternoon, county health officials announced that a resident had died from COVID-19. Fort Bend County Health & Human Services said the woman, who was in her 70s and had pre-existing medical conditions, was briefly hospitalized prior to dying two days earlier at a local hospital.
The county announced its second COVID-19 death Monday, a man who was in his 70s with an underlying illness. He died Sunday in an area hospital.
As of Monday, the county had identified a total of 138 cases among county residents.
“This is a tragic and sad outcome for this family and our community. Today we face a historic public health event affecting not only Fort Bend County but communities around the globe,” Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, director of Fort Bend County Health & Human Services, said in a news release about the first death. “We offer our heartfelt condolences to the patient’s family and friends.”
In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, Fort Bend County Judge KP George issued a stay-at-home order on March 24 that will remain in effect through at least April 3. It requires all county residents to stay home except for essential reasons such as to obtain groceries, household items and medical care, and only businesses deemed essential are allowed to continue operating. All residents must adhere to social distancing guidelines by staying at least 6 feet away from each other.
An epidemiologic investigation has also been launched at Richmond State Supported Living Center (RSSLC) after a laboratory report identified two cases at the facility on Monday.
The cases include two residents in their 60s, who are both hospitalized, according to Fort Bend County Health & Human Services.
To help residents stay informed about the disease’s impact on the county, officials also launched the COVID-19 Response Hub last Thursday. The site is a one-stop information source for residents regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the local community based on data gathered from Johns Hopkins University.
“COVID-19 is affecting all ages, genders and is found in those who have traveled as well as those who have not,” Minter said. “Our graphic representation presents a better picture of what is currently occurring in our county.”
The online hub will host information about closures related to the COVID-19 response within Fort Bend, according to the county. It also contains a graphic breaking down the county’s cases by gender, status and age group, along with a running tally of closures for schools and government facilities.
According to the World Health Organization, which in March declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, there have been more than 697,000 cases in 203 different countries, including more than 122,000 cases in the United States. The disease has caused more than 33,000 deaths globally and more than 2,100 in the U.S..
The county’s call center is open for any residents who suspect they may be symptomatic. Fort Bend residents can reach the center at 281-633-7795.
“As a community, we must come together to follow the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines and the Fort Bend County ‘Stay Home to Save Lives’ order to slow the spread of this unprecedented global pandemic,” George said.