COVID-19 General Info & Updates

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Latest Updates & Information

UTMB Health has developed this website as a resource dedicated to sharing information about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and available vaccines. The site contains guidance for members of the communities served and employed by UTMB, including patients, students, our healthcare workforce and other employees. It also links to external sources for the latest information on this disease threat. Please explore these pages to inform yourself, minimize risks and if needed, get care for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Positive UTMB Patients Galveston County by Collected Date

Updated daily, each morning. Click Chart to Expand.

Galveston County

UTMB: The history and future of combatting infectious diseases

1899 Medical Department heads smallpox quarantine camp on Galveston’s East BeachUTMB’s expertise in infectious diseases research and clinical care dates back to the 19th and 20th centuries, when the university took the lead in combatting such diseases as Yellow Fever and bubonic plague on the Texas Gulf Coast. By the 21st century, UTMB had built an unparalleled team of world-renowned experts in new and re-emerging diseases, from influenza to Ebola and Zika. This includes research on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of coronaviruses, such as the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 illness.

Today, UTMB Health is home to highly trained physicians, nurses and other caregivers well-prepared to care for patients with infectious diseases. And, thanks to our unusually strong research expertise in coronaviruses and our unique facilities, UTMB is also at the forefront of the emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak and is already working to understand the disease as well as to develop vaccines and therapeutics.

UTMB Program Strengths

  • web-ihiiUTMB's world-class infectious disease research programs are breaking new ground in understanding the nature of infectious diseases, and are working to translate new research concepts into products aimed at controlling emerging infectious diseases and mitigating their effects on society. The programs of the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity (IHII) are the hub of infectious disease research at UTMB. Read about UTMB research on COVID-19.

  • GNL worker The Galveston National Laboratory—one of only two National Laboratories dedicated to the safe study of infectious threats to health at all levels of containment.

  • A Biocontainment Care Unit, adjacent to the university’s Level I trauma center in Galveston. The unit, made possible with federal and state funding, is designed to provide the highest-level of containment and highest-quality care for patients with certain infectious diseases. While COVID-19 illness does not usually require that level of clinical containment, the BCU provides additional isolation capacity should it be needed. UTMB has six contiguous negative pressure rooms in our BCU, offering an ideal place to provide safe care if called to service. (UTMB also has standard negative pressure rooms where care can be safely provided by staff equipped with proper PPE).

COVID-19 General FAQs


  • What is COVID-19

    Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus, now known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

    While COVID-19 causes only mild illness in some infected individuals, it may cause serious lower respiratory infection leading to hospitalization and even death.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this factsheet highlighting important information you should know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-10).

    Last modified on 3/16/2020

  • How do I help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if I am sick?
    • Stay home unless you need medical care
    • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
    • Call ahead before visiting a clinic
    • Wear a mask
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes
    • Clean your hands often
    • Avoid sharing personal household items
    • Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day
    • Monitor your symptoms

    Last modified on 3/10/2020

  • Can I get tested for the coronavirus? What’s the process?

    Patients with symptoms of respiratory illness, including cough, fever or shortness of breath, can schedule online or contact the UTMB Health Access Center at (800) 917-8906 to speak with our 24/7 nurse hotline.

    • Patients should follow recommendations for testing, self-isolation and management of symptoms.
    • Any patient experiencing a worsening of symptoms—particularly shortness of breath—a few days after first becoming ill should contact the Access Center IMMEDIATELY. To keep our patients and employees safe, UTMB tests our patients for COVID-19 in advance of any procedure or hospital admission.
    • To keep our patients and employees safe, UTMB tests our patients for COVID-19 in advance of any procedure or hospital admission.
    • You may also wish to check with your local county health officials for testing available through local government. In Galveston County, Health District testing information is online.

    Please note: Our process and procedures may be updated as the COVID-19 situation develops in our region.

    Last modified on 10/16/2020

  • Can COVID-19 spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects?

    It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

    The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

    Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

    Last modified on 3/16/2020

  • Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
    • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
    • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    Last modified on 3/5/2020

  • If someone has minor symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19, can they be isolated at home instead of a hospital?

    At this time, patients testing positive for COVID-19 who have mild symptoms, are not over age 60 and do not have an underlying medical condition are advised to isolate at home. If a patient with COVID-19 is concerned, begins to experience shortness of breath, starts feeling worse a week or so into the illness, is over age 60 or has an underlying medical condition, they are strongly encouraged to call their doctor or the UTMB Access Center at (800) 917-8906 to speak with our 24/7 nurse hotline.

    Last modified on 3/16/2020