City of Kingsville and Kleberg County officials on Friday announced the area's first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus.

A press conference was held on noon and was streamed on the city's Facebook page, The City of Kingsville TX, and the Kleberg County Commissioners Court Facebook Page.

"Unfortunately, this morning, both the city mayor and myself received word from a local area hospital that there has been a confirmed case of (the) COVID-19 coronavirus in the City of Kingsville," Madrid, flanked my Kingsville Mayor Sam Fugate, said at the press conference.

Officials have said they intend to release as much information as possible without violating federal privacy laws. Madrid said the individual was a middle-aged male who had recently traveled from Waco began exhibiting symptoms similar to those associated with the novel coronavirus.

Madrid clarified the timeline of the man's diagnosis after the Friday's press conference concluded. The man went to the emergency room to be seen and was instructed to self-quarantine, which he did for several days. After a few days, he was hospitalized again because of his symptoms and eventually transferred to a hospital in Corpus Christi.

While in Corpus Christi, the man was tested and given a confirmed diagnosis for COVID-19. The man is in isolation, where he is receiving medical treatment and is in stable condition, Madrid said.

All healthcare providers who were part of the man's care and transportation were wearing all proper protective equipment, Madrid said. State health officials are also looking to see if the man had any contact with other individuals, Fugate said, to ensure there are no other possible cases as a result.

"It looks like this gentleman was somewhat of a loner and didn't have a lot of contacts, so hopefully with follow-up information, they can make sure there's not any other related cases," Fugate said. "We don't expect any."

Madrid said with the first case now being confirmed in Kleberg County, it was vital for everyone in the community to take the different measures county and city officials have put into place seriously. Those include keeping public gatherings to no more than 10 people and practicing social distancing, either by keeping six feet apart from other people or staying home and only venturing out when absolutely necessary.

"This is a confirmation of why we need to all stick together and adhere to the rules that are being placed by ... local, state and government agencies," he said. "We are doing this to ensure your safety. Now, if ever there was a time to stop and listen, now's that time – please adhere to these rules."

"You need to decide if getting out is a want or a need," Fugate said. "It's a good time to just stay home. This virus loves people, and if you get around it, it's going to love you. If you're not around it, he's going to be upset and it's going to kill him. It's a distance issue that people need to understand."

Madrid also informed the community that because of a severe shortage of personal protective equipment, state health officials are imposing new hours on testing sites around the state to "maximize" existing supplies.

Instead of being open for testing daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., state officials are mandating hours be changed to Tuesdays and Thursdays, by appointment only, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

"These are decisions that are out of the county judges', out of the city mayors' hands," Madrid said. "These are the conditions that the Department of State Health Services have given to us."

"What I can tell you is they have reassured us that this will not slow down testing," he added. "What I mean by that is everyone who needs testing will still receive it ... Instead of scattered throughout the week, they'll be batched together."

Madrid said that any individual referred to the site by a physician or medical professional will be automatically placed in a 14-day quarantine.

Residents who are feeling possible symptoms are asked to not go to Christus Spohn Hospital Kleberg, but instead contact their local medical provider or call the hospital for guidance at (361) 595-9746.

This is a developing story. Check back to KingsvilleRecord.com for updates.

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