IMPORTANT – CALL FIRST AND FOLLOW MEDICAL INSTRUCTIONS
Please call before arriving to any medical facility if you believe you have been exposed to or contracted Coronavirus. You may be instructed to stay home. Follow the instructions given to you by healthcare providers. Most cases have mild, flu-like symptoms and can be treated at home with fever reducers and hydration. This prevents overwhelming the healthcare system.
Note that facilities may not be able to test you. Test numbers are still limited. Currently, local and state health departments are not recommending testing for patients without significant underlying health conditions or severe symptoms due to the limited number of tests available. Again, please follow the instructions given to you by healthcare providers.
Neighbors Emergency Centers is monitoring the Coronavirus closely via the Centers for Disease Control. We understand that news of new diseases can be concerning, so we have compiled the most useful information for our communities.
We’ve put together a quick reference of relevant information and resources.
Proper handwashing technique:
It’s important to wash your hands properly to prevent the spread of germs. Here are the 5 steps for proper handwashing, and a video:
Follow these five steps:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Rub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
*Remember not to touch your face, including your eyes, with unwashed hands.
DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center: 211
Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
For local assistance, see the listing of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‑19) Local Health Entities.
Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Texas Department of State Health Services COVID-19 website: https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/
Frequently Asked Questions
Has Coronavirus reached Houston?
Yes, there are cases of Coronavirus in Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, and Galveston counties. The US has confirmed cases of Coronavirus in 46 states and the District of Columbia.
To view the most recent stats for COVID-19, click here.
Due to the CDC recommendation for social distancing, many Houston-area school districts and universities have canceled school or transitioned to distance learning (online or video classes), and many offices are requesting staff work from home, when possible. Most large gatherings, such as conferences or concerts, have been canceled. This is to help prevent the community spread of disease. Please check with your office, school district, or event host for further details.
What are the Symptoms?
Because the virus is so new, information is evolving. Symptoms can be similar to the flu, but the severity can be different for each patient. Common symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms can appear as early as 2 days or as late as 14 days after exposure.
What are Treatment and Prevention Options?
There is currently no specific antiviral treatment or vaccination for COVID – 19. The best options for prevention are to follow standard preventative measures, as you would for cold and flu. These include:
- Washing hands often and thoroughly with soap and water following appropriate hand washing technique.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are ill.
- Stay home if you are ill.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with tissue or elbow.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched objects or surfaces.
- Social distancing – the practice of avoiding social contact or limiting exposure to the general public, even if you are not feeling ill, to prevent the spread of disease.
- Limiting non-essential travel
Can Neighbors Emergency Center care for patients potentially infected with COVID-19?
Yes, but we ask that you contact the facility prior to arrival, and prior to entering, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to other patients, visitors, and healthcare workers.
Can Neighbors Emergency Center test for COVID-19?
Yes. We can submit tests through a public health or private lab, but screening requirements are in place due to the limited number of tests available. Currently, local and state health departments are not recommending testing for patients without significant underlying health conditions or severe symptoms due to the limited number of tests available. Special considerations will be made for exposures to healthcare workers. Neighbors Emergency Center may be required to rule out other potential illnesses prior to contacting local health departments for approval to test. Testing takes approximately 2-4 days to result. The individual tested will be placed under self-quarantine at home until the test results.
What should I do if I have mild symptoms?
If you can care for yourself, the CDC and local health departments recommend that patients with mild symptoms self-quarantine at home and to contact their primary care physician or local health department. General questions regarding COVID-19 should be directed to your local health department as well:
- Texas Department of State Health Services
- 7:00 am – 8:00 pm, Monday – Friday
- Houston Health Department
- 9:00 am – 7:00 pm, Monday – Friday
- 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Saturday
What should I do if I need medical attention?
You will need to use your best judgement. If you are sick and require medical attention, you should notify the facility or medical professional prior to arriving. This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to other people, including persons of high risk and healthcare providers. If you are infected, then you should only leave your house if you need to seek medical attention.
What is Coronavirus?
A virus identified in Wuhan, China late in 2019, it is officially titled COVID-19. From China, the virus has been confirmed to have spread to over 120 countries, including the United States [as of 3/13/20]. It is similar to MERS and SARs, which originated in bats, and has begun spreading from person-to-person. The virus affects respiratory function. On March 11th, the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
How Severe is Coronavirus?
The CDC is still analyzing the severity of the virus. Some people have shown little or no symptoms, while others have experienced severe illness or death. Because of the relative ease of community spread, many organizations are taking precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of disease. This includes limiting large group gatherings and “social distancing”, which has led to the postponement or cancellation of conferences and events, and the move to telecommuting for work and school.
As Neighbors receives more information on Coronavirus, we will keep you up to date.