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What you need to know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What you need to know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Mar 06, 2020

This blog was posted on March 6th. Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, some information may not be up to date. Stay informed by visiting the CDC website.

CHI St. Luke's Health is closely following the latest developments with coronavirus. We remain in constant contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health departments and are implementing their recommendations as we learn more about this disease. The safety of our visitors, patients, local communities, employees, and physicians remains our highest priority and we are taking steps to limit the spread of the virus and care for those who need it. We will continue to provide updates on this page as more information becomes available.

Health care providers in the Texas Medical Center are working together to implement measures that can serve to decrease transmission of COIVD-19 virus and “flatten the curve” to slow the spread of the virus and avoid overwhelming the capacity of the health care system. Anyone visiting a hospital or any health care site should  seriously consider the following recommendations here.

Information about coronavirus

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (abbreviated to COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 has now spread to a number of countries including the United States, where several states have reported cases. The list of these confirmed cases can be found here.

While most people are at low risk of contracting the virus, it can spread through close contact with someone who is already infected. Learn more about how coronavirus is spread on the CDC website.

Here are a few simple actions you can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Patients with COVID-19 have mild to severe respiratory symptoms that can include fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.

What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms of coronavirus?

If you believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home or community:

  • Stay home, except to get medical care. Restrict activities outside your home, avoid visiting public places, and do not take public transportation, ride shares, or taxis.
  • Do not go to the emergency room unless you have severe symptoms or you have a medical emergency. 
  • Contact your Primary Care doctor if your illness is worsening or visit an urgent care clinic. Reach out to your Primary Care physician or urgent care by calling ahead before visiting the location. Tell your provider that you have or may have coronavirus-like symptoms so they can take steps to keep other people from getting infected. 
  • If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have been, or are being, evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.
  • Wear a face mask. Wearing a face mask when you are around other people can help prevent the spread of the virus in your community.

How are hospitals preparing to treat coronavirus patients?

Our hospitals are following the latest guidance from the CDC and public health agencies. We are prepared with staff, supplies, and equipment to identify, isolate, and treat any patients who seek care at our facilities. Staff trainings and planning sessions are ongoing, in partnership with local health officials.

Where can I get more information about coronavirus?

We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. You can also find the latest on the CDC website as well as the website of your local health department. For more information about current COVID-19 cases in Texas, visit the Texas Department of Health Services website. The state case count is updated each day by 10:00 a.m. For other COVID-19 related questions or concerns, DSHS has a dedicated call center that is available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information, please call 1-877-570-9779.

For coronavirus preparedness information, please visit the website of our academic research partner, Baylor College of Medicine.

Additional Resources