Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Our Commitment to the Community

Information is flowing at a rapid pace as the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve. We are closely monitoring updates from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as federal, state and local officials.  We have an emergency command center staffed with health care experts responding to the ongoing needs of our patients, employees and the community.  

Our staff follow best practices, using recommended tools and techniques to protect themselves, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

If you have an appointment or need to visit the hospital for any reason, please view the sections below.

Learn More about COVID-19

If you have a medical emergency, call 911 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms and recent travel history.

Unless it is an emergency, stay home if you feel sick, even if your symptoms are mild. To reduce your risk of catching or spreading illness, do not go to work, school or public places, and avoid public transportation if possible.

If you feel like you need medical care, you are encouraged to call before you go to a doctor’s office or urgent care center and describe your symptoms over the phone. If symptoms are severe, you can also call 911.

Answer Questions to Determine Your Risk

When you call a health care provider, you will be asked about your risks for COVID-19. Risk factors include recent travel to certain countries or areas of the U.S., or exposure to an infected person.

You may be asked:

  • In the last 28 days, have you traveled outside of the continental United States?
  • Have you traveled to China, Iran, Europe, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Korea or communities with broad outbreaks (e.g. NY, NJ, WA, CA, MA, CO and central and Southern Florida)?
  • Have you had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus? (Close contact means having been within 6 feet of that person for an extended time, or being exposed to their cough or sneeze.)
  • Do you have a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing?
  • Has a public health officer said you were potentially exposed to COVID-19?

Follow Your Health Care Provider’s Instructions

Based on your answers to these questions, the care provider will provide instructions over the phone. You will be told if you need to be evaluated. Based on your risk for COVID-19, your health care provider may recommend that you:

  • Continue to monitor your health and call back if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms.
  • Stay home and await further instructions.
  • Report to a medical care facility for evaluation. If possible, it’s best to go alone to your appointment. Do not bring children or other family members unless you require assistance.
  • Go to a clinic or emergency department, or call 911, if you have more severe symptoms, such as higher fever and severe shortness of breath.

Practice Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

  • If you go to a care facility and you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have traveled to designated areas, you will be asked to wear a mask upon arrival. Masks are NOT recommended for healthy people in the general population.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water. Be mindful to wash your hands after sneezing, blowing your nose, coughing or using the bathroom, and before preparing or eating food.
  • If you cough or sneeze, do so into the bend of your elbow, not your hand, or use a tissue, and then immediately throw it away.
  • At home and work, clean often-touched surfaces such as doors and doorknobs, cabinet handles, bathroom hardware, tabletops, phones, tablets and keyboards regularly with disinfectant.

Stay Calm

The possibility of having a contagious illness is concerning but doctors, nurses and other caregivers are working together with national and international agencies to identify and provide care to patients while avoiding spread of the illness in the community.

Symptoms

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 perod of MERS-CoV viruses.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately.  Emergency warning signs include*:

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

*This list is not all inclusive.  Please consult your medical provier for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Transmission

  • COVID-19 may be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear, but we don’t know definitely.
  • COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others, even after the ill person is no longer near.

Treatment

  • COVID-19 is not treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections.
  • It may be treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization.

Prevention

COVID-19 may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, coughing into a tissue or the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected.

Cause

COVID-19is caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus is now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.

Antiviral Medications

Antiviral medications are currently being tested to see if they can address symptoms.

Vaccine

No vaccine is available at this time, though it is in progress.

A vaccine to cure COVID-19 is available.
Answer: FALSE.
Currently there is no vaccine for the new coronavirus. Scientists have begun working on one, but developing a vaccine that is safe and effective may take months.

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by taking acetic acid or steroids, or using essential oils, salt water, ethanol or other substances.
Answer: FALSE.
None of these recommendations protect you from getting COVID-19, and these practices may be dangerous. The best ways to protect yourself from this coronavirus, and other viruses, include:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing
  • Practice hand hygiene and resipratory etiquette
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water.  Be mindful to wash your hands after sneezing, blowing your nose, coughing or using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food.
  • If you cough or sneeze, do so into the bend of your elbow, not your hand, or use a tissue and immediately throw it away.
  • At home and work, clean often touched-surfaces such as doors and doorknobs, cabinet handles, bathroom hardware, tabletops, phones, tablets and keyboards regularly with disinfectant.  For a list of EPA-approved disinfectants, visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-agai...

 

A face mask will protect you from COVID-19.
Answer: FALSE.
Certain models of professional, tight-fitting respirators (such as the N95) can protect health care workers as they care for infected patients.
For the general public without respiratory illness, wearing lightweight disposable surgical masks is not recommended. Because they don’t fit tightly, they may allow tiny infected droplets to get into the nose, mouth or eyes. Also, people with the virus on their hands who touch their face under a mask might become infected.
People with a respiratory illness can wear these masks to lessen their chance of infecting others. Bear in mind that stocking up on masks makes fewer available for sick patients and health care workers who need them.

We are committed to treating every patient who needs medical care. Our expert, well-trained clinicians regularly care for patients with severe respiratory illnesses and other infectious diseases. Our providers and staff follow best practices, using recommended tools and techniques to protect themselves, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

We are closely monitoring updates from the World Health Organization (WHO), the infection rate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other tracking tools.

We will rely on our emergency management plan and practices to care for suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19.

**With our country experiencing a pandemic, COVID-19, we are committed to providing exceptional care while ensuring the safety of our patients and visitors.  In order to protect pattients and healthcare personnel by reducing uncessary exposure, we have suspended hospital visitation at this time.

One visitor, 16 years or older, is allowed per patient for the following circumstances:

Labor and Delivery and Births

  • End-of-Lifen Circumstances

If you have questions regarding the visitation policy, please call (254) 618-4359.

All visitors will be subjected to travel and health screenings.

We are also screening employees who have symptoms, have traveled by sea or air, or who have household members who have recently traveled internationally or domestically by sea or air.

We care for infected patients in isolated areas of the hospital. Access to these areas is limited to a small group of staff who only care for patients in that area. The materials used to care for infected patients are isolated and handled using the most current infection-control practices.

For the safety of all, our environmental care staff uses evidence-based disinfection procedures and products. We are confident patients entering our facility for inpatient or outpatient care are safe.

We understand the public’s high level of concern and are committed to protecting our patients’ privacy.

Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds and some cause disease. A newly identified type has caused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness now called COVID-19 that started in China.

Symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath. COVID-19 can be severe and some cases have caused death. This new coronavirus can be spread from person to person. It is diagnosed with a laboratory test.

There is no vaccine for coronavirus. Prevention involves frequent hand-washing with soap and water, coughing into a tissue (throw away immediately) or the bend of your elbow and staying home when you are sick.

Patient Guidelines

We are closely monitoring updates from the World Health Organization (WHO), the infection rate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and virus tracking systems.

To help identify and treat patients while avoiding the spread of the disease, we are asking all patients to follow these guidelines when seeking care:

  • If you feel ill and it is an emergency, call 911. Describe your symptoms and provide any information you have about recent international travel or contact with someone known to have COVID-19.
  • If you feel ill and it is NOT an emergency, call your primary care or specialty care provider, or an urgent care center, and describe your symptoms over the phone before going to any of these locations. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
  • Do you have a fever, a cough or shortness of breath?
  • In the last 28 days, have you traveled outside of the continental United States?
  • Have you traveled to China, Iran, Europe, United Kingdom, Ireland or South Korea or communicties with broad outbreaks (e.g. NY, NJ, WA, CA, MA, CO or FL)? 
  • Have you had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus? (Close contact means having been within 6 feet of that person for an extended time, or being exposed to their cough or sneeze.)
  • Have you been notified by a public health official that you have potentially been exposed to COVID-19?
  • For more severe symptoms, such as higher fever and severe shortness of breath, you may be advised to go to a clinic or the emergency department.
  • The day before any medical appointments, call the office. Be prepared to answer the above questions.
  • If possible, please go alone to any appointments. Do not bring children under the age of 16, family members or friends unless you need assistance. Especially, do not bring anyone who has a cough, a fever or shortness of breath or is considered medically vulnerable.

This page is updated regularly to reflect the latest recommendations and best practices.