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A Dell Employee Who Was In Austin Late Last Month Has Been Diagnosed With COVID-19 In Southern India

A person uses hand sanitizer.
Julia Reihs

A man who was in the Austin area last month has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Southern India, officials say.

Austin's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department says the unidentified man was in the area Feb. 28, then traveled to Bengaluru in the Indian state of Karnataka before showing symptoms of the disease six days later. Dell Technologies confirmed Monday night that the man was an employee of Dell India, and that he visited the company's headquarters in Round Rock before heading back home.

Bryce Bencivengo, the public information manager for HSEM, said officials believe it's unlikely the man contracted the disease caused by the coronavirus in Austin because there hasn't been a case of spread from person-to-person here yet.

"We think it is very unlikely that this individual got COVID-19 from our community," he said. "We also think the risk to the community is low because his symptom onset was after he left – about six days after he left. So, that's not a typical period for which he would be able to transmit the disease."

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Bencivengo said it was unclear how long the man was in the Austin area or whether he was an Austin resident, but a report from The Economic Timessays the man attended work in India for two days before he was quarantined. Dell said in a statement that another employee tested negative for the virus, but that it was following appropriate health protocols.

Austin health officials are currently testing people for COVID-19, though, again, there have been no documented cases of person-to-person transmission in the Central Texas area. Officials are urging people to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand-sanitizer. Avoid touching your face and stay home if you're feeling ill.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there are a dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, most of which are in the Houston area. The virus has killed 17 people nationally. Globally, it's responsible for more than 100,000 infections and close to 4,000 deaths.

This story has been updated.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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