State and federal health officials continue to monitor COVID-19.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 459,887 cases and 7,497 deaths have been confirmed in Texas, according to a tracker for Texas COVID-19 cases published by the state Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
If your patients have questions or concerns about COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DSHS have plenty of information and resources for you.
The CDC has added guidance for preventing the spread of disease in long-term care facilities, and published resources on ways schools, businesses, and households can prepare for COVID-19.
The CDC website also includes information about symptoms and complications, prevention and treatment, and how the virus is transmitted. In addition, CDC has published a Hospital Preparedness Assessment Tool to help prepare for the possible arrival of patients with COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the DSHS website includes additional information about the virus, a frequently-asked-questions document, printable materials, and guidance for health care professionals, laboratories, travelers, and more.
Physicians and other health care workers should consider the coronavirus if a patient is showing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and has relevant travel history or disease exposure within 14 days of symptom onset or has symptoms without an alternative explanatory diagnosis, such as the flu, in accordance with DSHS guidelines. Suspected cases should be reported to your local health department immediately, DSHS said.
The recommendations for infection control are similar for any patient showing symptoms of an airborne respiratory virus, and include:
- Masking and isolating the patient behind a closed door;
- Wearing protective gear (goggles, gown, respirator mask) when caring for the patient; and
- Washing hands and disinfecting equipment and surfaces that may have come in contact with the patient.
If you have any questions or would like more information specific to the coronavirus, contact DSHS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, DSHS has created a hotline staffed by nurses and epidemiologists that is open to the public and to health care professionals. The hotline is open from 7 am to 6 pm (CT) Monday through Friday at (877) 570-9779.
To help Texas physicians prepare TMA is compiling all the news and information you need right now on our online COVID-19 Resource Center. Bookmark that page as we will update it continually.