An Episcopal priest in Fort Worth tested presumptive positive for COVID-19, marking the first case of the disease in Tarrant County and the sixth in North Texas.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth said in a news release that the patient, the Rev. Robert Pace, is hospitalized in isolation. Pace is the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. Pace's wife, the Rev. Jill Walters, tested negative for the disease but will be in self-quarantine for 14 days, the diocese reported. The church is canceling Wednesday night activities and Sunday services.
Pace is the sixth reported case of the novel coronavirus in North Texas and the 21st in the state, according to Texas Health and Human Services.
Pace became ill after traveling to a conference in Kentucky in late February, Tarrant County health officials said in a release. The Conference of Endowed Episcopal Parishes held its annual meeting Feb. 19-22 at the Omni Hotel in downtown Louisville. On Monday, the Louisville Courier Journal reported that another priest, the Rev. Timothy Cole, rector of Christ Church in Washington, D.C., had also tested positive for the disease shortly after returning from the conference.
Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said county health officials were speaking with household contacts and had identified places where Pace had been recently. County health officials are contacting who may have been exposed, he said.
Press Release: Tarrant County Public Health confirms first positive COVID-19 case pic.twitter.com/Ni7ZstizDW— Tarrant County (@TarrantCountyTX) March 10, 2020
On Tuesday, Dallas County health officials announced that a 77-year-old out-of-state traveler had been diagnosed with COVID-19. The person was taken to a Dallas-area hospital for treatment. Later, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a news release that a second person, a close contact of the person first diagnosed, had also tested presumptive positive for the disease. Jenkins said the second diagnosis doesn't indicate community transmission.
The first case in North Texas was reported Monday, when a Frisco man tested presumptive positive for the disease after a business trip to Silicon Valley. Collin County health officials later said the man's wife and 3-year-old child had also tested positive for the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a presumptive positive case is when a patient has tested positive for the disease by a public health lab, but those results haven't been confirmed by the CDC.
The Houston metro area has been the hardest-hit region in Texas, according to Texas Health and Human Services. Seven cases have been reported in Harris County, and six have been reported in Fort Bend County.
Editor's note: This story originally misstated the name of the conference Pace attended in Louisville. The event was the Conference of Endowed Episcopal Parishes.
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