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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. However, a new strand - causing the COrona VIrus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is the cause for the current outbreak. 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) or within a shared indoor space from cough and sneeze droplets or aerial droplets held in the air. 

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.

undefined Certain behaviors have differing levels of risk.

Steps for Reducing Risk

The following are steps that will reduce risk but not completely erase it. If you must leave home for necessary reasons (e.g., to get groceries or to work), these steps can help lower your risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.

 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.
  • Avoid sharing an internal space where COVID-19 particles can be suspended in the air that circulates throughout the room.
  • 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. Face coverings can protect both the wearer and others around them. 
  • Your face covering could infect you because of self-contamination or germs settling into moist fabric. So please, follow these important Steps for Face Covering:
    • Do not use on children under age 2 or on anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unable to remove the mask without assistance (e.g., due to a disability or unconsciousness).
    • Do not use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
    • Use a face covering for four hours or less at a time. Wash in hot water and dry thoroughly after use.
    • Don the mask (put it on) after washing hands using steps above. After doffing (removing) the mask, wash your hands again and do not touch the outside front of the mask since it is likely contaminated.
    • Continue to practice social distancing - which means staying home and only leaving for groceries and essential needs, while keeping a physical distance when you must go out.

 

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

 

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.

 

 

undefined

Source: Texas Medical Association - COVID-19 risk levels.(Megan Vanselow)

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

 Source: NBC 5, Texas DSHS, county health departments

How Coronavirus Has Grown in Each State

While New York originally was the epicenter of the American coronavirus outbreak, Texas has had a dramatic increase in cases. This chart shows the cumulative number of cases per state by number of days since the 10th case.

Source: The COVID Tracking Project. Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC

For more information about COVID-19 Testing, Cases, and Deaths in North Texas, visit https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/coronavirus/what-we-know-about-coronavirus-cases-in-north-texas-around-the-state/2335449.

 

 

How to Get Help

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.

Locations for Testing

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 TimeTime to receive test results varies between a few hours to up to several days. 

Source: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/testing.aspx

 

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

Resources During Hardship

For more information on resources available to you during this time, visit these guides:

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

CDC Guidelines: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for Healthcare Professionals

Cochrane: Rapid Reviews and Other Related Content from the Cochrane Library

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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About the Guide

Contributors: Peace Ossom-Williamson & Isaac Williams

Icons: made by Eucalyp from flaticon.com

Page last updated: Oct 26, 2020