Texas ER doctor who treats coronavirus patients self-isolates in treehouse

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A Texas doctor who has been treating COVID-19 patients is self-isolating in his children’s treehouse in the backyard of the family’s Corpus Christi home.

Dr. Jason Barnes is among the many health care workers who are taking extra safety precautions to protect their families after being exposed to the novel coronavirus.

Barnes, a 39-year-old physician at Christus Spohn hospitals in Beeville and in Corpus Christi, made a temporary home of his children's treehouse in the family’s backyard.

Barnes told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that he has spent nearly three weeks in the cabin treehouse and often shouts down to his kids if he needs something — or sometimes walks up to the back picture window door of their home to make his request.

"They're within yelling distance," Barnes said. "But I can call or go up to the glass. They know not to open the door and risk catching something."

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Of course, this self-isolation means his two sons, ages 6 and 9, lost their playhouse.

"They love that thing, but they understand, so they're not missing the treehouse, per se," Barnes said. "They tell me they miss me once a day."

For most people, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms, but for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

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As of Tuesday, Texas has at least 18,923 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with nearly 480 deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.