COVID-19 is a new respiratory illness that was first discovered in Wuhan, China. It is transmitted from person to person.
Primary symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, fatigue and sore throat. Severe cases include persistent high fever, shortness of breath and pneumonia.
Those most at risk of becoming seriously ill are people over age 60 and people with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
COVID-19 is transmitted through:
- close contact with an infected person
- by an infected person coughing or sneezing
- and by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
It takes from two days up to 14 days from being exposed to the virus before you will get sick.
Local or community transmission is when the virus is spreading from person to person within the community rather than being acquired through travel. Though household cases are examples of community transmission, the concern is with continued spread beyond a single household or cluster. That’s when the chain of infection cannot be easily identified.
Community or local transmission has been identified in Tarrant County.
How you can prevent COVID-19
Although there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the best way to prevent infection is to take the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
What should I do if I get sick?
- Stay home until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours unless you experience significant symptoms, then contact your medical provider before you seek care.
- Limit your contact with others in your household if at all possible. If possible limit the number of people who provide you care within the home so you don’t expose them.
- Most cases of coronavirus will be mild and you will recover without medical care. If you have persistent fever, high fever, have underlying medical conditions contact your medical care provider.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus contact your medical provider before seeking care. If you don’t notify them before arriving at the clinic or hospital immediately grab a mask and let the intake staff know your concern so that you don’t potentially expose others while waiting to be seen.
How do I get tested for coronavirus?
If a person has respiratory issues, TCPH advice is to contact a physician or an urgent care or other medical facility and get tested for the flu or other viral illnesses first. If your doctor or medical professional determines that, based on your symptoms and travel history that a COVID-19 test is needed, specimens will be taken and sent to a lab for testing.
TCPH generally does not test individuals for COVID-19 unless you are a contact case and have been contacted by our epidemiology staff.
If I am planning to travel should I go?
Check the CDC website for updates on where travel should be avoided regardless of your risk for complications from coronavirus infection. If you are high risk, you are advised not to travel.
If I am planning a large event, should I cancel it?
Tarrant County Public Health is strongly recommending that organizers of events of any size in which people will be in close contact to cancel or postpone such events, if possible.
Tarrant County Public Health’s Emergency Preparedness staff is working closely with the CDC and Texas Department of State Health Services to get the latest updates on this evolving situation. We are also updating our response plans as needed and have sent health alerts to the Tarrant County medical community and other partners.
TCPH is working with local hospitals on an ongoing basis to advise if patients meet CDC recommendations for testing. If we receive a confirmation of a case of novel coronavirus, further communication will be provided to the public and media.
The Coronavirus causes a respiratory illness with fever and cough, may lead to severe pneumonia and is similar to the SARS and MERS Coronaviruses. The SARS outbreak of 2003 sickened over 8,000 and about 800 people died.
Coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses, which can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Symptoms are similar to the flu and include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of being unwell. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems.