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Information about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Updated March 18, 2020

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  • COVID-19 screening with MyBSWHealth

    For your safety and convenience, we are encouraging all patients experiencing flu-like symptoms (cough, shortness of breath and feeling feverish) to first visit the MyBSWHealth mobile app or website to take a free COVID-19 screening questionnaire.

    We ask that you please complete this prior to scheduling an appointment or walking into a clinic, urgent care or hospital emergency department.

    To install the app on your mobile device, simply text BETTER to 88408 to have it sent to your phone.

Enhanced visitor precautions, effective March 16

 

We are taking many proactive steps to protect the health and well-being of our communities. Out of an abundance of caution, we are enhancing visitor precautions.

Beginning Monday, March 16, at 8 a.m., visitors and patients will use designated entrances and be screened upon arrival.

Screening at entry points

Visitors will undergo a short screening at the designated entry points. This screening is based on CDC guidelines for identifying respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus (COVID-19). Patients will continue to be screened at registration.

If a 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.

Screening questions:

  • 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?
Visitor guidance

We are also limiting visitors to the following:

  • One visitor at a time per patient during visiting hours
  • We have temporarily suspended entry of those under the age of 16
  • Waiting rooms will be closed to large groups

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

 

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

COVID-19 was first detected in China and has now spread to over 100 locations internationally. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. On March 13, 2020, COVID-19 was officially declared a National Emergency by the United States.

 

Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms typically appear within 2-14 days after exposure.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Causes

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that are common in people and different species of animals, including cattle, camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and spread from person to person. The current outbreak of respiratory disease is caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that was first detected in China.

Similar to the flu or other respiratory infections, COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person. A spread is most likely to happen between people in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Although not believed to be the primary way the virus spreads, it may be possible for a person to contract COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching their nose, mouth or eyes.

Risk Factors

Certain populations are believed to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness, including older adults and people with underlying chronic health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. If you are at high risk, limit travel and close contact with others, wash your hands frequently and talk to your doctor about what to do if you get sick.

 

When to see a doctor

 

For your safety and convenience, we are encouraging all patients experiencing flu-like symptoms (cough, shortness of breath and feeling feverish) to first visit MyBSWHealth in the mobile app or on the web to take a free COVID-19 screening questionnaire.

We ask that you please complete this prior to scheduling an appointment or walking into a clinic, urgent care or hospital emergency department.

To install the app on your mobile device, simply text BETTER to 88408 to have it sent to your phone.

Following your screening questionnaire, you may be prompted to complete an eVisit, which will be evaluated by a Baylor Scott & White provider who can advise you on appropriate next steps.

As always, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911. Notify the dispatch personnel that you have or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If available, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.

In adults, signs of a medical emergency may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

 

Prevention

 

Take preventive steps to protect yourself and your family.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after you cough, sneeze, blow your nose or visit a public space. If soap isn’t readily available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face — eyes, nose and mouth — with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Stay informed and regularly check the CDC’s COVID-19 Situation Summary.

Help prevent the spread in your community.

  • Stay home if you’re sick, except to get medical care.
  • When you cough or sneeze, use the inside of your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands immediately.
  • If you’re sick, wear a face mask when you are around other people or visiting your doctor’s office (unless this causes trouble breathing).
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces in your home that are touched often. Tables, door knob, light switches, countertops, handles, toilets, faucets, etc. should be cleaned and disinfected daily.

Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Learn more about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • Symptoms
  • Causes
  • Risk Factors

Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms typically appear within 2-14 days after exposure.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Causes

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that are common in people and different species of animals, including cattle, camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and spread from person to person. The current outbreak of respiratory disease is caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that was first detected in China.

Similar to the flu or other respiratory infections, COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person. A spread is most likely to happen between people in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

Although not believed to be the primary way the virus spreads, it may be possible for a person to contract COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching their nose, mouth or eyes.

Risk Factors

Certain populations are believed to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness, including older adults and people with underlying chronic health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. If you are at high risk, limit travel and close contact with others, wash your hands frequently and talk to your doctor about what to do if you get sick.

When to see a doctor

 

For your safety and convenience, we are encouraging all patients experiencing flu-like symptoms (cough, shortness of breath and feeling feverish) to first visit MyBSWHealth in the mobile app or on the web to take a free COVID-19 screening questionnaire.
We ask that you please complete this prior to scheduling an appointment, walking into a clinic or arriving at a hospital location.

To install the app on your mobile device, simply text BETTER to 88408 to have it sent to your phone.

Following your screening questionnaire, you may be prompted to complete an eVisit, which will be evaluated by a Baylor Scott & White provider who can advise you on appropriate next steps.

As always, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911. Notify the dispatch personnel that you have or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If available, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

In adults, signs of a medical emergency may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Blush lips or face

Resources from Scrubbing In®

 

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.



How to cope with anxiety about coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you’re feeling heightened levels of anxiety or fear because of the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), you’re not alone. It’s only natural to be stressed during times of uncertainty. But with these coping mechanisms, you can take care of yourself and your loved ones and look forward with confidence.

  • 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.

Frequently asked questions

 

For comprehensive FAQs, download the CDC's fact sheet: English | Spanish | Mandarin

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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