Gov. Greg Abbott announced that all residents at an Arlington-area retirement home will be tested for the novel coronavirus after the death of a man in his late 70s who tested positive for the virus.
The patient, Patrick James, was hospitalized March 12 and died four days later, Fort Worth officials said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. Test results came back positive after James’ death, but officials noted that he had no known contact with other infected patients.
James was the second death in Texas linked to the virus; on Monday, a man in his late 90s in Matagorda County died after showing symptoms consistent with the illness. A third man, who died Tuesday in Collin County, also tested positive for the new coronavirus.
News of James’ death was first reported Tuesday evening by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
James, 77, was living at the Texas Masonic Retirement Center. Abbott said Wednesday that all residents at the retirement home will be tested for the new coronavirus.
James’ wife, Jean James, was also experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus, the Star-Telegram reported, but couldn’t get tested until his results came back positive.
“We’re all concerned, but I promise you Arlington will come out of this stronger than ever, and Texas will come out of this stronger than ever.” said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. “It will take each and every one of us to win this fight.”
There are already at least 95 known cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus discovered in late 2019, in the state — a number that’s expected to rise exponentially in the coming days as testing becomes more readily available.
Public health officials are particularly worried about the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes and assisted living communities. The virus can spread from person-to-person contact and is especially dangerous for people who are older than 65, experts warn. During a press conference last week, Abbott limited visitation in areas deemed more vulnerable, including day cares, prisons and nursing homes. In Washington, at least 30 deaths have been associated with an outbreak in one nursing home, and several more residents of the facility tested positive.
On Wednesday, Abbott said Texas is receiving more testing kits “as we speak.” By the end of the week, Abbott said, the state should be able to administer between 15,000 and 20,000 tests per week.