2019 Novel Coronavirus

microscopic example of a coronavirus

Current Situation: 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

A new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was recently detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness. The 2019-nCoV outbreak began in December 2019, and Chinese health officials have reported thousands of 2019‑nCoV infections in China, including some that resulted in death. Many other countries have identified cases of 2019-nCoV infection including the United States.

The CDC has confirmed one case of 2019-nCoV in a person who has been under quarantine at JBSA-Lackland in San Antonio since their return from China on a State Department-chartered flight. The individual is currently isolated and receiving medical care at a local hospital. This case does not change the risk of infection for people in San Antonio or other parts of Texas, because the patient has been under quarantine. The risk for all Texans remains low.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in monitoring the developing outbreak. See the CDC website for the latest developments on 2019-nCoV, including current case counts:
2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC)


Information for the Public

How do people become infected with 2019-nCoV?

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and
  • Rarely, fecal contamination.

Many of the patients in the pneumonia outbreak caused by 2019-nCoV in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, it is now clear that person-to-person spread is occurring. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with 2019-nCoV, and investigations are ongoing.

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What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?

Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

At this time, CDC believes that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS coronaviruses.

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How can I avoid infection with 2019-nCoV?

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • 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.

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What do I do if I think I may be infected with 2019-nCoV?

If you are experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and you have traveled to China, been exposed to a sick traveler from China, or been exposed to a person with 2019-nCoV infection in the last 14 days, you should contact your healthcare provider. Be sure to call ahead before going to your doctor’s office or emergency department to prevent any potential spread.

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Where can I learn more?

See the CDC's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to learn more about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

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Information for Travelers

With the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak in China, the State of Texas encourages everyone to heed the advice of the CDC and U.S. State Department and avoid travel to China. Companies, universities and others with personnel there should make arrangements to return their people to the United States or move them to another area without ongoing coronavirus spread.
CDC Travel Health Notices
U.S. State Department Travel Advisory
Letter to TX Higher Ed Institutions, School Districts, State Agencies (PDF)

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Information for Healthcare Professionals

DSHS has compiled the following resources to assist healthcare providers in the evaluation of patients who may be ill with or who may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV:

For disease reporting and/or local assistance, see the listing of Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Local Health Entities.

Notice Regarding Testing and Submission of Specimens for 2019-nCoV Testing

ALL specimens for 2019 nCoV testing require preapproval. Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet PUI criteria for testing prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval. Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

Posted 2/10/2020

Healthcare professionals can also find interim guidance (including patient evaluation, reporting, testing, specimen collection, and prevention and control recommendations) on the CDC website:
CDC Guidance for Health Professionals

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Information for Laboratories

Laboratory professionals can find interim guidance (including guidelines for handling and processing specimens) on the CDC website:
CDC Guidance for Laboratories

(See also the Notice Regarding Testing and Submission of Specimens for 2019-nCoV Testing for healthcare professionals, above.)

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Information for Public Health

DSHS has provided the below resources for public health professionals investigating possible cases of 2019-nCoV:

Public health professionals can also find interim guidance for ships on the CDC website:
CDC Guidance for Ships

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Information for EMS Systems

Emergency medical services (EMS) systems can find interim guidance for the 2019-nCoV response on the CDC website:
CDC Guidance for EMS Systems

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Printable Materials

The following materials can be printed for display and/or distribution to communicate key information to the public about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus:

  • Coronavirus Alert for Healthcare Settings
  • Symptoms of Coronavirus

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Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like more information about the content on this page, contact by email or by phone:

Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

DSHS 2019-nCoV Call Center: 1-877-570-9779
Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday

For local assistance, see the listing of Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Local Health Entities.

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This page is being updated as new information becomes available.

Last updated February 14, 2020