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Coronavirus is a common cause of respiratory illnesses with fever and cough, including the common cold. However, a new strand - the COrona VIrus Disease 2019, or COVID-19 - was announced by the World Health Organization as the cause for the current outbreak; it can lead to severe pneumonia. This novel disease has also been called “2019 novel coronavirus,” “2019-nCoV,” or "coronavirus disease." The virus causing it is "SARS-CoV-2," which stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
Updates on UTA response to the pandemic can be found at uta.edu/coronavirus.
There is no vaccine for coronavirus disease, and it mainly spreads between people close by (within 6 feet) from cough and sneeze droplets. The best way to prevent sickness is avoiding exposure.
The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends social distancing - or staying away from other people and limiting physical contact to avoid catching or spreading illness. This can include avoiding concerts and weddings, skipping handshakes, and standing at a distance from others.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
Sun, P., Qie, S., Liu, Z., Ren, J., & Xi, J. J. (2020). Clinical characteristics of 50466 patients with 2019-nCoV infection. medRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.18.20024539
Tarrant County Public Health. (2020). COVID-19 (Coronavirus). http://www.tarrantcounty.com/content/main/en/public-health/disease-control---prevention/coronaviruas.html
Xu, X. W., Wu, X. X., Jiang, X. G., Xu, K. J., Ying, L. J., Ma, C. L., ... & Sheng, J. F. (2020). Clinical findings in a group of patients infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) outside of Wuhan, China: retrospective case series. BMJ, 368. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m606
COVID-19 spreads very easily between people, most commonly from close interaction, even from those without symptoms. The spread is also sustained, which means it continues going from person-to-person without stopping. COVID-19 may also spread through touch of contaminated objects.
Person-to-person: COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people in close or prolonged contact. Transmission is from respiratory droplets from the infected person's mouth (including coughing and talking) that are inhaled into a nearby person's lungs.
Contaminated surfaces & objects: It may be possible for a person to become infected by touching an object or surface with the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Adapted from How COVID-19 Spreads by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Texas Department of State Health Services and CDC guidelines state that
High-Risk Individuals should call the doctor if symptoms arise.
(e.g., those over 65 years of age or with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, or a weakened immune system)
For others in the General Population: Those with good health and mild symptoms should stay home and care for themselves. If symptoms worsen, DSHS recommends calling the doctor.
If you develop Emergency Warning Signs, get medical attention immediately. Signs include
difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
persistent pain or pressure in the chest
new confusion or inability to arise
bluish coloring in the lips or face
any other urgent, severe, or concerning symptoms
There is drive-thru testing available for COVID-19, but it is very limited. Most locations are focused either on patients of that clinic or on healthcare workers. Testing is determined based on travel history, exposure to a postive COVID-19 case, and symptoms. Testing for COVID-19 is free, and result retrieval time varies between a few hours to up to three days. (Note: the clinic you visit may require that you are tested for flu and strep before COVID-19, and those tests may incur some costs.) Some locations:
Open to the public:
Any doctor or medical facility can order COVID-19 tests of common labs (including LabCorp, Quest, and Arup) at the request of a physician or medical facility
Drive-Thru Testing: Neighborhood Medical Center, 5917 Belt Line Road, Dallas, TX.
Drive-Thru Testing: 2500 Victory Plaza, Dallas, TX (American Airlines Center), and 9191 S. Polk Street, Dallas, TX. Open 8 am to 8 pm. Criteria include:
Must show cough, shortness of breath, and a temperature of 99.6 or higher.
Testing for patients: Parkland Hospital, Dallas, TX
Testing for Healthcare Workers: Parkland Hospital, Dallas, TX and Catalyst Health Network, Plano, TX
Contact Cases: Counties' Public Health Departments
For more information on resources for you during this time, visit this guide:
Visit the CDC's website coronavirus.gov for a comprehensive website.
NIH Research Info: nih.gov/coronavirus
National Academies of Medicine Duty to Plan: Health Care, Crisis Standards of Care, and Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
(includes topics such as implementation and ethical resource allocation)
UW Medicine Patient Care Protocols and Policy Guidelines
UpToDate Coronavirus Disease 2019
ECRI Guidelines COVID-19 Resource Center
Wolter's Kluwer COVID-19 Resources and Tools
Many coronavirus resources that would be behind a paywall have been opened up to the public. We also have access to open access resources and those from the UTA Libraries' subscriptions.