Coronavirus is a common cause of respiratory illnesses with fever and cough. However, a new strand - causing 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.
Adapted from Steps to Prevent Illness by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) by Texas Department of State Health Services, and Fabric Masks: Useful, but Not a Cure-All from Nebraska Medicine.
Reporting Close Contact
Students, faculty, and staff members who come into close contact (within 6 feet) with an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 must report this.
Complete the Close Contact Form.
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.
Testing is available throughout the state and is recommended for high-risk individuals or essential employees showing symptoms. More guidelines about how to get help are below.
If you develop Emergency Warning Signs, get medical attention immediately.
Testing locations can be seen in the map below. Most locations are focused on those with symptoms and essential workers. Testing can also be ordered by your physician - please call if you have symptoms.
Antibody / Serology Tests
Some clinics are now providing antibody testing (also called serology testing) to determine if an individual had been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. If you are interested in antibody testing, contact your primary care provider. For more info about antibody testing, visit https://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/serology-testing.html.
Cost: Governmental testing for COVID-19 is free; however, testing at the doctor's office or clinic can include a fee. Also, if testing for flu and strep are required before COVID-19, those tests may incur costs.
Wait Time: Time to receive test results varies between a few hours to up to several days.
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
For more information or to use the online symptom checker, visit https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/#ifsick
For more information on resources available to you during this time, visit these guides:
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
CDC Guidelines: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for Healthcare Professionals
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.