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Beaumont resident confirmed with coronavirus worked at PA health facility that is temporarily closing

The Beaumont resident who tested positive for coronavirus works at an unidentified Port Arthur facility, the Port Arthur Health Department said in a statement Sunday.

That facility is also temporarily closing operations. Sources tell The News the business in question is Gulf Coast Health Center at 2548 Memorial Blvd. in Port Arthur. A person who picked up the phone at Gulf Coast would not confirm or deny the report.

The statement was emailed and posted at 4:03 p.m., more than 2½ hours after the city of Beaumont confirmed the positive test.

The statement in full:

“Today, March 22, 2020, the Beaumont Public Health Department received confirmation of its 3rd case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a Beaumont resident,” the PAHD statement reads. “This individual resides in Beaumont and works at a facility located in Port Arthur. The individual is currently quarantined at home and is cooperating with the direction of the health department and required medical officials.

“The City of Port Arthur Health Department is working closely with the Beaumont Health Department in conducting an investigation of any contact that the individual has had with members of the public. Additionally, the employer of the confirmed case is closing its Port Arthur facility in order to quarantine its employees and sanitize the building.

“Quarantine procedures include persons with COVID-19 staying home for at least 14 days, monitoring their temperature twice a day and only leaving home if they need medical care. For confidentiality purposes, the Port Arthur Health Department cannot legally release any additional information to identify the particular individual because of privacy laws that protect certain health information.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation. We understand this positive case may concern our community, but at this time there is no evidence of community spread. The immediate risk for Port Arthur residents remains low. We have worked very hard planning and preparing for this moment. There are steps in place to safeguard the community.

“The Port Arthur Health Department is conducting an epidemiological investigation and is working to quickly identify close contacts of the individual. Those may include family, friends, co-workers and other potential contacts. The investigation may also include collaboration and assistance from other health departments.

“These are steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones protected:

• 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 with at least 60 percent alcohol.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home if you are sick.

• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. If tissues are not available, cough and sneeze into your elbow. Do not cough and sneeze into your hands.

• Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

• Get a flu shot. The flu vaccine does not offer protection against COVID-19, but it is also flu season.

“Call the COVID-19 hotline at (409) 550-2536 or your healthcare provider if you are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath and are concerned you have come in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient or have a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset.

“It is important that you call first so they can evaluate your risk and determine if they need to see you in person so that other patients are not potentially put at risk.

Roughly 80 percent of those who fall ill with COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms similar to those of the flu and will recover without needing any hospitalization. Those who are at a higher risk for COVID-19 and developing complications include older adults and those with underlying health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and lung disease.”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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