UPDATED: Fort Worth rector identified as first presumptive positive coronavirus case in Tarrant County

A potential case of coronavirus has been identified in Tarrant County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
A potential case of coronavirus has been identified in Tarrant County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

A potential case of coronavirus has been identified in Tarrant County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Updated: 5:30 p.m., March 11

A news release from Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth has identified the Tarrant County presumptive patient as Rev. Robert Pace, the rector of the church. Pace is hospitalized in isolation, according to the release. His wife, Jill Walters, also a reverend, has tested negative for the coronavirus but will remain in self-quarantine for 14 days, according to the release.

Tarrant County Public Health has identified places where the patient has been, including the church, and is reaching out to people who may have been exposed, officials said in a release.

The church announced in its release that has closed its building and offices for the time being. Sunday worship services on March 15 have also been canceled.

Posted March 11:

Tarrant County Public Health identified its first presumptive positive case of coronavirus March 10.

The presumptive positive result is a test that returned positive in Tarrant County Public Health's lab; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not yet completed confirmatory testing, according to the CDC website.

The patient in question traveled to a conference in Kentucky during late February, according to a Tarrant County Public Heath release.

Tarrant County Public Health is not providing any specific information about the patient, such as age and place or residence, said Vinny Taneja, director of Tarrant County Public Health. The department is interviewing household contacts for the possibility of further testing; TCPH has also identified places where the patient has been and is reaching out to people who were possibly exposed.

Taneja met with Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley for a Facebook Live video March 11. Whitley assured viewers that the county has been working with the CDC and state officials in preparation for the virus.

"We've been preparing for this for the last several weeks," Whitley said. "It's now here, and we will execute those plans."

The county health lab identified this case, as it recently gained the ability to test for the coronavirus. The Tarrant County Public Health Department lab serves Tarrant County and 33 other counties in the region.

This presumptive positive result comes on the heels of three confirmed cases of coronavirus in Collin County.

Community transmission has not been detected, but the health department encourages residents to avoid exposure to the virus by using everyday preventative measures for any respiratory virus. These include:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;

  • Stay home when you are sick. If you experience difficulty breathing or a persistent fever, call your primary care provider;

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or a sleeve; and

  • Frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces.

There is still not a vaccine to prevent coronavirus, according to health officials. Novel coronavirus originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019 and has now spread to more than 100 countries.

To see more news about coronavirus in Tarrant County, click here or visit coronavirus.tarrantcounty.com. The health department has also installed a business hotline to call during business hours: 817-248-6299.

"With fact, you can fight fear," Taneja said. "Don't worry, and don't fear this virus. It is just like what we've seen with many other viruses, and we will get through this as a community."
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the Frisco and McKinney editions.


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