Two of three COVID-19 tests in Uvalde negative, so far

Uvalde County Judge Bill Mitchell, Uvalde Memorial Hospital CEO Tom Nordwick, and Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin Jr. (left to right) as seated during a video UMH released Wednesday.

by Julye Keeble, staff writer

Of three people tested at Uvalde Memorial hospital for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, two test results have returned negative, and though results are being awaited for the third, the patient reported their symptoms have subsided.

Hospital CEO Tom Nordwick sat down Wednesday with Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin Jr. and Uvalde County Judge William Mitchell to address area residents regarding the status of COVID-19 preparations.

During the presentation, which was posted on Facebook, Nordwick stated five hospital employees who traveled were self quarantining and UMH has administered three tests so far for COVID-19.

“Two of them were individuals that contacted the hospital and they met all the criteria and the Texas Department of Health approved them. They actually called in advance. We met them out at their vehicles, and we swabbed them at their vehicles,” Nordwick said.

He said the people were self quarantining while waiting for test results as a precautionary measure.

The third test was on a patient admitted to the hospital who became ill at work and tested negative for flu and other illnesses.

The state did not authorize this person to be tested, but Nordwick said the individual was able to be tested by a private lab.

He said the patient has been home for several days in self-quarantine, and has since reported their symptoms had mostly subsided.

Nordwick stated tests cannot be administered unless they meet Texas Department of State Health Services criteria.

According to a UMH press release issued Friday, March 13, a person will only be tested if they show signs of a fever and/or lower respiratory illness and have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset; show signs of a fever and lower respiratory illness with a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset, or have risk factors like diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease or chronic kidney disease that put them at a higher risk of poor outcomes; or show signs of a fever and lower respiratory illness requiring hospitalization and no source of exposure has been identified.

Mitchell asked people to practice social distancing, maintain good hygiene including frequently washing their hands, and observe the decree prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people.

McLaughlin asked residents to use common sense and curtail stockpiling from stores in consideration of the elderly and of their neighbors. He said he has spoken to HEB store management and they will be bringing in food every day.

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