DALLAS (AP) — A third person in Texas who was infected with the new coronavirus has died, health officials said Wednesday.
Collin County health officials said a 64-year-old man from the Dallas suburb of Plano died Tuesday night at a local hospital. Officials said the positive test was confirmed after the death of the man, who had an underlying health condition.
Collin County health officials said that because of how the case was reported to them, they haven’t yet been able to confirm the man’s cause of death, and they don’t know if he was in contact with the virus locally or through travel.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The second death in Texas related to COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, was announced Tuesday. Large Texas cities including Dallas, Houston and Austin have restricted the sizes of gatherings in efforts to fight the virus’ spread.
Tarrant County officials said Texas’ second death linked to the virus was a man who lived in a retirement center in the North Texas city of Arlington. Relatives say 77-year-old Pat James died Sunday, but it wasn’t confirmed that he had coronavirus until Tuesday.
He was only tested for the virus the day before he died, said daughter-in-law Shelley Brandt.
Brandt said she wonders why a COVID-19 test was not given to her father-in-law sooner.
“It’s my understanding he did not meet the criteria and the only criteria he did not meet is that he had not been out of the country,” Brandt told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Just because he was not out the country does not mean the man in front of him at the hardware store had not been out of the country. If someone checks all the boxes except one, that should be a red flag.”
The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
Brandt said Pat James first thought he had the flu, but the test was negative. She said he kept getting sicker and was admitted to the hospital March 10 and diagnosed with double pneumonia and placed in the intensive care unit.
Meanwhile, Pat James’ wife, 75-year-old Jean James, is in quarantine with symptoms.
“It’s upsetting,” Brandt told the newspaper. “Her husband passed away, and we cannot go to her side to comfort her and she’s sick and in quarantine. We are doing what we can by phone and helping her as best we can from outside.”
Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference Wednesday in Arlington that everyone at the Texas Masonic Retirement Center, where James lived, will be tested for the virus.
On Monday night, Matagorda County health officials, along the Texas coast, announced that a man in his late 90s who died at a hospital had tested positive for COVID-19.
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