COVID-19 UTMB Faculty and Staff Updates

Call (409) 772-2222 or (800) 917-8906 before visiting any clinic. We offer 24/7 Nurse Triage and Scheduling.

COVID-19 UTMB FACULTY & STAFF UPDATES

Information for UTMB Faculty and Staff

Officials with UTMB leadership and Human Resources are closely monitoring developments with COVID-19 and its possible impact on the institution's workforce. Please check back regularly for updates.


Daily Update

  • As of 12:30 p.m., April 6, 2020

    April 6, 2020, 12:34 PM by COVID-19 Communications
    Today’s COVID-19 update includes information on child care services for UTMB employees, a new wellness tip of the day from your RISE (Resilience in Stressful Events) Task Force, and updated data regarding COVID-19 testing and patient data.

Institutional Support Updates

  • Announcement regarding Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    April 3, 2020, 19:09 PM by COVID-19 Communications
    UTMB's Human Resources Department will soon have information on new resources for employees impacted by COVID-19.
  • From the Vice President of Human Resources: COVID-19 Employee Labor Pool—Supporting Urgent Needs

    April 3, 2020, 15:04 PM by COVID-19 Communications
    In this message from the vice president of Human Resources, the employee labor pool that has been created to help meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic is explained in-depth to provide a better understanding of the process and its possible effects on employees. Please click the title to learn more.
  • Best Practices to Prevent Zoom-Bombing

    April 3, 2020, 08:14 AM by COVID-19 Communications
    Zoom-bombing is when an unwelcome anonymous attendee broadcasts inappropriate or offensive material in a meeting session, and it has unfortunately become increasingly common. Get tips on reducing the risk.
  • UTMB Mail Services on Modified Schedule

    April 2, 2020, 16:43 PM by COVID-19 Communications
    UTMB Mail Services is on a modified schedule and offering different options for mail retrieval/drop off, weekly mail delivery, mail hold, and urgent mail.
  • UPDATED: Surgical Mask Requirement

    April 2, 2020, 16:13 PM by COVID-19 Communications
    Beginning Friday, April 3 at 6 a.m., everyone who enters a UTMB health care facility (clinics, emergency department or inpatient) will be provided a mask at the screening counter to wear for the day. A new mask will be issued daily, to be worn the entire time you are within the health care facility.
  • Employee Screening at all UTMB Health clinical facilities

    March 31, 2020, 10:19 AM by COVID-19 Communications
    Based on direction from Texas Health and Human Services, all hospitals are required to screen employees and faculty members, a process that is similar to the screening UTMB has already implemented for visitors. Read about designated entrances and COVID-related procedures now in place.

Latest Message from the President Ad Interim

Dr. Raimer headshot


Dr. Ben G. Raimer, President ad interim

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDICAL BRANCH
www.utmb.edu/president   .   (409) 772-1902

  • In Focus: March 31, 2020

    April 3, 2020, 10:53 AM by

    In this video message, UTMB President ad interim Dr. Ben Raimer is joined by Drs. Gulshan Sharma, vice president and chief medical and clinical innovation officer and Janak Patel, director of Infection Control & Healthcare Epidemiology to discuss how the COVID-19 situation is developing at UTMB. The trio discuss testing and treatment for the virus, as well as the proper PPE measures to take when caring for patients.

  • Mental Health during COVID-19

    April 2, 2020, 16:24 PM by Jessica Wyble

    For several weeks, we have all been focused on planning, preparing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time of unprecedented uncertainty and stress, it is essential that we take good care of ourselves and our families so that we can continue to support our patients and each other.

    To that end, UTMB has established an Employee Wellness Task Force, under the guidance of Human Resources and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. This group will be providing resources, updates and general information to all of us in the coming weeks to help us stay emotionally healthy during this crisis. 

    If you need emotional support or counseling, these resources are immediately available to you, and I urge you to use them:

    • The University of Texas Employee Assistance Program
      24/7 crisis counseling hotline: (844) 872-5986; open to employees and their families.
      See the UTEAP Overview Document for more information.
    • UTMB Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Employee Clinic
      Call (409) 772-0770 to schedule an appointment; available to employees and their families.
    • UTMB Student Health
      24/7 crisis hotline: (409) 747-HELP (4357); available to all UTMB students.
    • Texas Health and Human Services Commission Hotline
      Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line: (833) 986-1919; available to all Texas residents.

    Beginning next week, the Employee Wellness Task Force will feature wellness information in the COVID-19 Daily Update global email and in Weekly Relay Notes.

    I know it can be hard for people who are committed to helping others to seek help for themselves, but it is imperative that each of us recognizes when the load has become too much to bear alone. If you need help, please use one of the resources above, or confide in a colleague or supervisor. We will make sure you get the emotional counseling and support you need. Thank you and stay well.

    Ben G. Raimer, MD, MA, FAAP
    President ad interim


RESPONDING TO COVID-19

To prevent the rapid spread of the virus & help families & communities adapt to a quickly changing situation, follow these recommendations

ConnectedSTAY CONNECTED

Keep updated on what is happening in your community, workplace, school district, faith organization, etc.

HygienePERSONAL AND HOUSEHOLD HYGIENE

Proper hand washing, not touching your face, cleaning surfaces, staying home if you are sick, etc., are all important steps to take

PlanHAVE A PLAN

  • Keep 2 weeks of food, medicines, and other essentials.
  • Collect contact information for family, friends, and co-workers.
  • Make plans for disruptions to your daily schedule. (ex: school or childcare closures)
  • Make sure you know where to go for care if a member of your household becomes sick.

SocialDistancingSOCIAL DISTANCING

Stay home if you can, avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, stay 6 feet away from other individuals and cooperate with closures in your community

Information provided by UTMB's Department of Preventive Medicine and Population Health

UTMB Logo

COVID-19 General FAQs

FAQs

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

  • 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

To ensure adequate COVID-19 testing capacity for patients with medical need, UTMB Health will use the following process to determine when to test for COVID-19. This process is consistent with guidance from the local health authority and Texas Department of State Health Services.

  • Patients with symptoms of respiratory illness, including cough, fever or shortness of breath, should contact the UTMB Health Access Center at (800) 917-8906 to speak with our 24/7 nurse hotline.
  • The nurse hotline will advise the patient on what to do next, including the most appropriate clinic location for evaluation if needed. (Please note that patients with mild symptoms and no underlying risk factors may be advised to manage their symptoms at home.)
  • Once a patient arrives at the recommended location, they will be seen by a provider and likely given a flu test. (Colds and flu are still circulating widely in our region, so they first need to be ruled out as a cause of symptoms.)
  • If the flu test is positive, the patient will be treated for flu as appropriate.
  • If the flu test is negative, the provider will recommend whether a COVID-19 test is warranted, based on the most current guidance from health authorities.
  • Patients should follow provider 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.
  • Patients who do not have symptoms of a respiratory infection will not be tested for COVID-19 at this time. This is to ensure we maintain adequate testing capacity for patients who have medical need. It also reduces the risk of a false negative result in a patient who may have been exposed to the virus but does not yet have enough virus in their system to cause symptoms and to show up on the test.

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

Last modified on 3/15/2020

This is one of the topics that remains under study; it's still not certain exactly how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (at one point nine days was mentioned, which the latest studies suggest may be unlikely). Survival of the virus will vary under different conditions, including type of surface, temperature, humidity and moisture, exposure to sunlight, and other factors.

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Wash your hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. 

Last modified on 3/14/2020

There are no plans for UTMB to serve as a general quarantine facility in the case of an outbreak in our area. As always, we are prepared to care for patients who need hospitalization due to COVID-19 or any illness.

Last modified on 3/12/2020

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • 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.
  • 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 readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Last modified on 3/5/2020

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • a dry cough,
  • fever of 100.4 F or higher, and
  • shortness of breath.

Any time a member of your household has a fever (whether flu, COVID-19 or another illness), they should stay home until they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours. If at any time you have concerns about any symptoms you or your family is experiencing, call your doctor.

Last modified on 3/10/2020

COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes and to what extent it may spread in the United States.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Last modified on 3/5/2020

  • 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

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

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