Eagle Pass officials and a former Del Rio pediatrician confirmed a new novel coronavirus disease case Tuesday afternoon via social media.
Dr. Jorge Olaya, a former Val Verde Regional Medical Center pediatrician who has been seeing patients in a private clinic in Eagle Pass since November, posted in a Facebook page he had tested positive for the respiratory disease also known as COVID-19.
The announcement was later confirmed by Eagle Pass Mayor Luis Sifuentes during a press conference streamed live.
“In conversation with Dr. Olaya, not only the Department of State Health Services will be contacting all of the patients he has seen over the last 14 or 15 days, he will also be contacting them, and Dr. (Victoriano) Valdez, our local health authority will be contacting them,” Sifuentes said.
“(Dr. Olaya) decided to test himself out of an abundance of caution based off of his constant exposure to sick patients with potential COVID-19 like symptoms. This decision was made in order to minimize the spread of this potentially devastating illness,” the post in his Elite Pediatrics page reads.
Once confirmed by state officials, Olaya would be the second COVID-19 positive in Maverick County.
The number of cases in Val Verde County as of Tuesday afternoon remains at five, after the first case was confirmed on March 24. Three of the five cases in Val Verde County have been linked to international travel, one to domestic travel and another one has been labeled as community spread by local officials.
The post announcing Dr. Olaya’s case stated neither he nor anybody in his household has presented any symptoms of COVID-19.
“COVID-19 can still be spread even if you are not showing signs or symptoms, which is why we URGE individuals to abide by the Stay Orders put in place by the local and state government.”
The post continues on to say Dr. Olaya was notified Tuesday he is positive for COVID-19, and upon learning the diagnosis, public health authorities were immediately notified, as well as epidemiology and infection prevention experts.
“In coordination with the Eagle Pass Department of Public Health, we have been tracing the potential exposure to patients, physicians and staff, based on the timeline of this incident, and in consultation with these experts, we have been assessing risk to each person potentially exposed based on their unique circumstances.
“Unfortunately, exposure to health care workers is becoming more commonplace at hospitals across the country. We are doing all we can to protect our patients and our staff members against COVID-19. Elite Pediatrics is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention best practices for preventing the spread of the virus and this exposure was not due to a breach of protocol.”
This story has been updated to reflect that Dr. Jorge Olaya has not practiced at Val Verde Regional Medical Center since November 2019.