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About Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Home

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About

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.

 

Prevention

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. 

Steps for Reducing Risk

 Keep Hands and Face Clean.

  • Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, rubbing hands until dry if there is not water and soap.
  • Avoid touching your face especially on or near the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Avoid Close Contact.

  • Stay home as much as possible. Practice social distancing, which refers to only going out for necessities like groceries or going to work if you are an essential employee.
  • Put distance between yourself and others, especially people who are sick
    especially if you are at greater risk of getting very ill.
  • Avoid touch and wash hands after interacting with other people.

Clean and Disinfect.

  • Clean and Disinfect Surfaces Daily or anytime they are dirty,
    focusing on frequently-touched items, including doorknobs, tables, faucets, and light switches. More info.
  • Use EPA-registered household disinfectants appropriate for the surface material.
    Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are effective. Follow the product instructions and make sure to have proper ventilation.
    Other options:
    • dilute household bleach (5 tablespoons) with water (1 gallon)
    • alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol

Cover your mouth and nose.

  • Wear a cloth face covering when in public along with social distancingYou could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. 
    • Do not use on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.

Adapted from Steps to Prevent Illness by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) by Texas Department of State Health Services.

 

For more information, view steps for wearing a mask (NYT). Read about how to make a mask (CDC).

 

 

Symptoms

Symptoms on average appear 3-5 days after exposure but can appear as far as 14 days after exposure, and symptoms can be mild to severe. Common symptoms are

 fever  headache
 cough sore throat
shortness of breath fatigue / body aches

Some may also experience loss of smell or taste, diarrhea, or congestion. Symptoms range wildly and tend to be more severe in those with an underlying health condition (for example, diabetes or asthma) and people over 60 years old.

 

Steps For Protecting Others When Sick

Stay home and call ahead. 

  • Call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19 before coming in. This will help them take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

 Wear a facemask.

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.  Even homemade masks help reduce risk of spread.
    • No mask? Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash, and wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with the person who is sick should not stay in the same room with them, or they should wear a facemask if they enter a room with the person who is sick.

 

For more information, visit What to Do If You Are Sick by the CDC and the MythBusters website by the WHO.

 

 

Additional Sources:

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

Spread

 

How COVID-19 Spreads

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.

 

Current Status in Texas

1000 600

 

How to Get Help

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

 

Testing Availability

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

Source: https://www.dallascounty.org/covid-19/testing-locations.php

 

Resources During Hardship

For more information on resources for you during this time, visit this guide:

Finding More Information

Visit the CDC's website coronavirus.gov for a comprehensive website.

Info for Researchers and Healthcare Employees

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

Cochrane Guidelines:

Ovid's COVID-19 Toolkit for Clinicians

UpToDate Coronavirus Disease 2019 

ECRI Guidelines COVID-19 Resource Center

  • PPE alternatives
  • webinars & podcasts
  • supply chain solutions

Wolter's Kluwer COVID-19 Resources and Tools 

Find More Research in a Database

 

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.

Browse Recent News

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Review Recent Articles in PubMed

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Contributors: Peace Ossom-Williamson & Isaac Williams

Page last updated: April 9, 2020

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