Do I need to be worried about getting coronavirus?
According to the CDC, as of March 10:
- For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed is thought to be low. Most communities in the U.S. do not have widespread circulation.
- People in places where ongoing community spread has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure. The increase in risk depends on the location.
- Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
How can I protect myself?
- Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 to 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands
- Stay away from sick people (and stay home except to get medical care if you’re sick)
- Use tissues to cover coughs and sneezes (and throw tissues away)
- Clean and disinfect items and surfaces that are touched a lot
- Avoid shaking hands
- For detailed information about this and other ways of protecting yourself, visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus
What symptoms should I watch for?
Fever, cough and sore throat
Should I go to the Emergency Department if I think I have it?
Anyone with mild illness should isolate themselves and consider care alternatives such as virtual health before coming to hospital Emergency Departments.
Is there a vaccine?
The CDC says “There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.”
Is there a treatment?
The CDC says, “There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.”
What online resources are available regarding the novel coronavirus?
- Texas Department of State Health Services: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
- Texas Health Resources for consumers: https://www.texashealth.org/Health-and-Wellness/Understanding-Coronavirus
What is Texas Health Resources doing as a system?
- Texas Health has launched a phone hotline for consumers with questions about coronavirus: That number is 682-236-7601
- Texas Health also has launched a phone line for physicians with questions. That number is 682-236-2101
- A System Virtual Incident Command Center went live at 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 4. This allows us to address issues as they arise and develop solutions and communicate them in the most efficient manner.
- Continuously providing guidance for clinical care teams in our hospitals and doctor’s offices for care of patients who might screen as potential COVID-19 patients
- Actively working with public health officials to ensure that we have the latest information on the global spread of the disease and quickly making changes to clinical protocols and screening measures through Care Connect updates
- Screening all Texas Health Physicians Group patients for COVID-19
- Rapidly identifying and isolating all patients who screen in hospitals and in clinics as potential COVID-19 patients
- Regularly posting COVID-19 guidance signs in hospitals and clinics for our consumers
- Continuing to provide our hospital clinicians with specific, detailed instructions on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- In Texas Health Physicians Group offices, where well patients frequently come in for routine care, if patients are considered persons of concern after screening, they are masked and isolated. Our clinic employees also use appropriate masks when caring for a person of concern. Once patients are identified as a person of concern — and after conversation with Dr. Lynn Myers, chief medical and quality officer for THPG, or her backup — they will be sent to the Emergency Department at a hospital if clinically appropriate.
- In the hospital or ED setting — where the patients are typically ill — we are reinforcing with our employees how, for this particular disease, we expect that they will properly take off and put on PPE.
- Continued planning for extra PPE that may be needed. Supply Chain management is continuously monitoring and working with our suppliers, including local manufacturers, to proactively prepare for surges.
- Meetings with emergency physicians and our disaster planning experts to prepare our response for any surge of patients
What resources are available for my patients regarding the novel coronavirus?
Information for patients/consumers can be found in the following locations:
- Texas Department of State Health Services – https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/
- CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Texas Health Resources – https://www.texashealth.org/Health-and-Wellness/Understanding-Coronavirus