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Gov. Greg Abbott raises alarm about number of COVID-19 cases, deaths in Harris County

The governor said he spoke to Vice President Mike Pence Tuesday, who wanted to make sure Harris County has everything they need to battle COVID-19.

HOUSTON — Governor Greg Abbott raised an alarm Wednesday about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the Houston area.

“One of the areas that’s getting hit the hardest is Harris County,” Abbott said in a news conference.

As of Tuesday, Harris County has 652 COVID-19 cases with eight deaths and 152 recoveries.

Those numbers don't include the City of Houston, which has another 1,320 cases, 11 deaths and 99 recoveries.

The governor said he spoke to Vice President Mike Pence Tuesday, who wanted to make sure Harris County has everything they need to battle COVID-19.

RELATED: Map: Keeping track of Houston-area coronavirus cases

The state overnighted 125,000 masks to Harris County with more to come, Abbott said. He's in touch with County Judge Lina Hidalgo to identify more needs. 

Abbott called Harris County a warning sign for the rest of Texas.

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Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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