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GALVESTON, TX, Feb. 20, 2020-On January 21, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the United States. No cases of suspected or confirmed Novel Coronavirus have been reported in Galveston County.
While U.S. public health officials currently believe risk is low for U.S. citizens, the Galveston Wharves and the cruise and shipping lines that berth here are monitoring the situation daily.
In a proactive effort, the port is organizing a tabletop exercise in early March with various federal, state and local agencies, and officials from the University of Texas Medical Branch and cruise lines. During tabletop exercises, participants discuss their roles and responses to a particular emergency situation.
The goal is to review and strengthen protocols and communications between all responding agencies in the first 24 hours of notification of a public health incident relating to any infectious disease reported by a vessel in the Houston/Galveston sector area of responsibility.
Under current circumstances, the U.S. Coast Guard, CDC, Galveston County Health District, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, have absolute authority during any public health incident, including issues related to any infectious disease. These agencies dictate the protocols, and the port follows them.
As always, the safety and health of passengers, crew and staff are top priorities for the Galveston Wharves.