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Information about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Updated March 13, 2020

Updates from Baylor Scott & White Health

Screening at entry points
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We continue to conduct a short screening at designated entry points at our clinics and for those visitors at our hospital who meet our visitor exception criteria (link to the next section). This screening is based on CDC guidelines for identifying respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus (COVID-19). Patients will continue to be screened at registration.

If an approved visitor answers "yes" to any of the questions below, our team will ask if they need medical assistance. If yes, we will transport the visitor to the ED. If no, we will kindly ask that they return home and contact their primary care provider.

  • Have you felt feverish or experienced respiratory symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath?
  • In the last 14 days, have you been on a cruise ship, traveled internationally or to the areas where COVID-19 is widespread?
  • Have you been in contact with someone who has, or is suspected to have, COVID-19?
Modified Visitation Policy
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To protect the safety of our patients and staff, and in accordance with new local regulations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Baylor Scott & White Health will move to a no visitor policy for our hospitals, effective Tuesday, March 24 at 7 a.m.

We will be offering limited exceptions to the policy, including one parent, spouse or caretaker over the age of 16 for:

  • Pediatric/NICU patient
  • Labor/post-partum patient
  • Patients undergoing surgery/procedure/testing
  • Patients with disabilities
  • Patients receiving end-of-life care

Visitors who meet exception criteria will use designated entrances and be screened upon arrival.

Clinic Appointments
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Patients with an upcoming scheduled visit are being contacted by their provider as we work to convert in-person appointments to one of our virtual care options, as appropriate. Those options could include phone calls, messaging or video visits on MyBSWHealth and third-party video conferencing.

If you need a new appointment, please call your provider’s office or schedule, as usual, through MyBSWHealth on the web or via the mobile app.

If you don’t yet have the app on your smartphone, you can simply text BETTER to 88408 to download.

Clinic Transitions to Virtual Clinics
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​The health and well-being of the broader community is our top priority. As supplies are redeployed to other Baylor Scott & White locations throughout the state to help with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are temporarily transitioning select clinic locations to virtual care and consolidating others into regional locations. Please check your clinic website prior to arriving or call the office. Providers at impacted sites will be reaching out to patients to reschedule appointments.

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Elective Procedures and Surgeries
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At Baylor Scott & White Health, there is nothing more important to us than the well-being of our patients and staff and the broader health of our communities. We have been continuously evaluating opportunities to build additional capacity in our hospitals in anticipation of future needs related to the treatment of patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

As a result, based on a case-by-case review, we are cancelling or rescheduling clinically non-emergent procedures and surgeries as appropriate – balancing our ability to respond to patients in need with preparedness efforts needed to sustain our service to the community during this time.

COVID-19 Testing Recommendations
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Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19, per the CDC. It is important to keep in mind:

  • Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home
  • There is no treatment specifically approved for this virus

Healthcare providers are working to conserve testing capabilities for those at highest risk.

As recommended by the CDC, it is important for those treating mild symptoms at home to be watchful for the development of emergency warning signs of secondary conditions related to COVID-19 and to get medical attention immediately for any symptoms that are severe or concerning.

As always, in the event of a medical emergency, please call 911 or report to the nearest emergency department.

Pre-Screening

Easy Testing with MyBSWHealth App

About Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

The current outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was first identified in China but has now spread internationally, impacting an increasing number of countries, including the United States.

“Coronaviruses” are a common family of viruses (the common cold is among them). This particular strain is called COVID-19 and can be spread from person to person via respiratory droplets, similar to how the flu is spread. It can also be spread by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

CDC is updating its website daily with the latest information and advice for the public

About Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The current outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first identified in China but has now spread internationally, impacting an increasing number of countries, including the United States.

“Coronaviruses” are a common family of viruses (the common cold is among them). This particular strain is called COVID-19 and can be spread from person to person via respiratory droplets, similar to how the flu is spread. It can also be spread by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

CDC is updating its website daily with the latest information and advice for the public

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  • Traveling? How to protect yourself from coronavirus (COVID-19)

    If you and your family are planning to travel in the coming days, take extra precautions while passing through airports and using public transportation.

Take preventive actions

 

Remember to take everyday preventive actions that are always recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; germs spread this way
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol
  • Seek medical care

    If you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have traveled to China or were in close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the 14 days before you began to feel sick, seek medical care. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

Frequently asked questions

For comprehensive FAQs, visit the CDC's website:

Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.?
​ Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage .
How does COVID-19 spread?

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest)
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads


Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.
How easily does the virus spread?
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
​Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

*This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.htmlAccessed March 13, 2020, 0830 CST.

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