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Coastal Bend has seen coronavirus before

Strain common to Corpus Christi is far less severe than China's current type
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Posted at 11:58 PM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 00:58:17-05

The outbreak of a new virus strain in China has grown dramatically, and now it may be here in Texas.

A potential case of the coronavirus has been identified in Brazos County.

A student at Texas A&M traveled to China, where at least 17 people have died from this aggressive new strain, and more than 600 have been infected.

"The patient is being monitored," said Brazos Co. Health Authority Dr. Eric Wilke. "We've been in contact with the patient today as well, and are tracking. Again, fortunately, his symptoms are not severe and he is doing well."

There is only one confirmed case in the United States, in Washington state.

But as we've learned, one strain of the virus is no stranger to the Coastal Bend.

A local little girl was four years old when she contracted a common strain of the coronavirus.

It was a scary time for the family, and it can't help but be reminded of that time, especially now, after hearing about the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China.

Isis Montoya is just like any 5-year-old now.

But in October 2018, she was at Driscoll Children's Hospital battling a case of coronavirus NL63.

"The lights were hurting her eyes, she was throwing up, she wasn't eating or drinking," said Iesha Morgan, who stayed by her daughter's side during her illness. "No, nothing like that."

Isis was in the hospital for four days with symptoms like a high fever and body aches.

"It just hurt," she said. "It hurt bad."

It turns out the coronavirus strain Isis contracted is common and much less severe than the strain spreading across China.

In fact, Driscoll Children's Hospital Dr. Jaime Fergie said from 2011-2017, nearly 1200 Coastal Bend children tested positive for common coronavirus strains, making it the fourth most-common virus seen at the hospital.

"Coronavirus is one of the most common respiratory viruses here, and anywhere in the world," Dr. Fergie said.

But the new coronavirus spreading across China seems to be much more dangerous, and deadly.

"The concern is: This one appears to be very severe," he said.

Dr. Fergie also said that because this new, virulent coronavirus strain permeating China is so new -- currently -- only the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can test for it.

Isis eventually made a full recovery after contacting the common strain, and is healthy, happy, and back to her normal self.

"I like to play tag, i like to play outside," she said.

And she likes to dance.