Updates

  • La vacuna antiCOVID-19 ahora está disponible para niños de 6 meses a 5 años

    Muchos padres de familia, cuidadores y clínicos han estado esperando una vacuna antiCOVID-19 para niños más pequeños. El 17 de junio, la FDA aprobó las vacunas antiCOVID-19 de Moderna y Pfizer-BioNTech para niños de 6 meses de edad o mayores. El 18 de junio, los CDC respaldaron la recomendación del Comité Asesor sobre Prácticas de Vacunación de que los niños de 6 meses a 5 años deben recibir la vacuna antiCOVID. Esto expande el derecho a la vacuna a casi 20 millones de niños adicionales y significa que todas las personas de 6 meses o más que viven en Estados Unidos ahora pueden vacunarse. La FDA ha determinado que ambas vacunas son eficaces contra la enfermedad grave y se ha demostrado que son muy seguras.

    Las vacunas de Pfizer-BioNTech y Moderna tienen programas de vacunación distintos y no se pueden intercambiar.

    • La vacuna antiCOVID-19 de Pfizer es para niños pequeños de 6 meses a 4 años. Es una serie de tres dosis. La primera y la segunda dosis se aplican con tres semanas de separación y la tercera dosis se aplica por lo menos 8 semanas después de la segunda. Cada dosis es de 0.2 mL después de la dilución. 
    • La vacuna antiCOVID de Moderna es para niños pequeños de 6 meses a 5 años. Es una serie de 2 dosis (0.25 mL por dosis) administradas con 1 mes de separación. También se ha autorizado una tercera dosis de esta serie, que se administrará por lo menos 1 mes después de la primera (0.25 mL), para niños de 6 meses a 5 años que tienen inmunosupresión.

    Ambas vacunas estarán disponibles en las clínicas pediátricas de UTMB, pero cada clínica recibirá solo un tipo de vacuna. Se les anima a los padres de familia a aceptar la vacuna que esté disponible en la clínica.

    Todos los niños, incluso los que ya han tenido COVID, deben ser vacunados.

    El director de los CDC declara que las vacunas antiCOVID-19 han sido, y seguirán siendo, sometidas al monitoreo de seguridad más intensivo en la historia de EE. UU. Los padres y cuidadores pueden tener un papel activo en el monitoreo de la seguridad de estas vacunas al inscribir a sus hijos en v-safe, verificaciones de salud personalizadas y confidenciales que se hacen por medio de mensajes de texto y encuestas en la red donde pueden compartir fácilmente con los CDC cómo se siente el niño después de recibir la vacuna.

    Si su hijo llena los requisitos para la vacuna antiCOVID de Pfizer-BioNTech y todavía no ha recibido la serie principal, vacunarlo puede ayudar a protegerlo de las posibles consecuencias graves de la enfermedad, como la hospitalización y la muerte. A partir del lunes, 27 de junio, se pueden programar citas para las vacunas antiCOVID en UTMB en línea o por medio de MyChart.

    Gracias.
    Dr. Janak Patel, MD Director, Control de Infecciones y Epidemiología en la Atención Médica
    Profesor, Pediatría y Enfermedades Infecciosas

    Dr. Philip Keiser, MD Profesor, Medicina Interna y Enfermedades Infecciosas
    Autoridad de Salud del Condado de Galveston
    Presidente del Grupo de Trabajo de UTMB para Vacunación contra el COVID-19

    La Oficina de Mercadotecnia y Comunicaciones del Grupo de Trabajo para Vacunación contra el COVID-19 envió este mensaje.

  • Vaccines available for children ages 6 months to 5 years

    Many parents, caregivers and clinicians have been waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine for younger children. On June 17, the FDA authorized Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccines for children down to 6 months of age. On June 18, CDC endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This expands eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children and means that all Americans ages 6 months and older are now eligible for vaccination. The FDA has determined that both vaccines are effective against severe disease while demonstrating excellent safety profile.

    The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have different schedules and are not interchangeable.

    • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is for young children 6 months through 4 years of age. It is a three-dose primary series with doses one and two given three weeks apart and the third dose given at least 8 weeks after the second. Each dose is 0.2 mL after dilution.
    • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is for young children 6 months through 5 years of age. It is a 2-dose primary series (0.25 mL per dose) administered 1 month apart. The vaccine is also authorized to provide a third primary series dose (0.25 mL) to young children 6 months through 5 years of age who are immunocompromised to be administered at least 1 month following the second dose.

    Both vaccines will be distributed to the UTMB pediatric clinics, but each clinic will receive only one type of vaccine. Parents are encouraged to use whichever vaccine is available in the clinic.

    All children, including children who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated.

    The director of CDC states that COVID-19 vaccines have undergone—and will continue to undergo—the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Parents and caregivers can play an active role in monitoring the safety of these vaccines by signing their children up for v-safe – personalized and confidential health check-ins via text messages and web surveys where they can easily share with CDC how a child feels after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

    If your child is eligible for either COVID-19 vaccine and has not yet received their primary series, getting them vaccinated can help protect them from the potentially severe consequences of the disease, such as hospitalization and death. Effective Monday, June 27, COVID -19 vaccines can be scheduled at UTMB online or via MyChart.

  • June 23, 2022: Changes in testing policies for procedures, hospital admissions

    During the past few weeks, we have noted a rapid increase in COVID-19 test positivity in our community—now at 30%—and a gradually increasing inpatient census. 

    Furthermore, the current COVID-19 variants, namely BA.2.12 and BA.4/BA.5, are much more transmissible than past variants. These variants now constitute 60% and 21%, respectively, among samples tested at UTMB. In addition, these variants can escape the immunity from past COVID-19 infection or vaccination. Although the overall severity of infection due to these variants remains low, they still cause significant morbidity and absenteeism from work.

    As a result of these recent developments, changes in COVID-19 testing policies are being made...

     

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  • Clinical Task Force: Updated COVID safety measures to take effect on June 7

    Due to a continued increase in COVID infections in the community this week (test positivity of >20%) together with a modest increase in COVID-related hospitalizations and rising infection among employees and students, new COVID precautions are being implemented effective June 7, 2022. 

    This message is intended for UTMB employees and students, who must be logged onto the UTMB network to access it. Thank you. Please click to read more.

  • COVID-19 Clinical Task Force: Modifications to precautions due to increasing number of infections

    The rate of COVID infection has continued to increase in our region as well as among our patients and UTMB workforce. Although rates of severe infection and hospitalization due to COVID remain stable and low, caution is advised to keep our employees and patients safe from COVID infection during this current wave. New COVID precautions are effective immediately. If the rates of COVID admissions and infections among our workforce increase further, additional precautions may be implemented.

    This message is intended for UTMB employees and students, who must be logged onto the UTMB network to access it. Thank you. Please click to read more.

  • Vaccination Task Force: CDC recommends FDA-approved single-dose booster for children ages 5-11

    On May 17, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age at least five months after completing a primary series with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. (See the FDA announcement.) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the booster for this age group on May 19, 2022. CDC now recommends that children ages 5 through 11 years should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. (See the CDC announcement.)

    This message is intended for UTMB employees and students, who must be logged onto the UTMB network to access it. Thank you. Please click to read more.

  • Los CDC recomiendan la dosis única de refuerzo aprobada por la FDA para niños de 5 a 11 años

    El 17 de mayo de 2022 la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos (FDA) de EE. UU. autorizó el uso de una sola dosis de refuerzo de la vacuna antiCOVID de Pfizer-BioNTech para niños de 5 a 11 años si han pasado por lo menos cinco (5) meses desde que completaron la serie principal de vacunación con la vacuna de Pfizer-BioNTech. (Ver el anuncio de la FDA). Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) aprobaron la dosis de refuerzo para este grupo el 19 de mayo de 2022. Los CDC ahora recomiendan que los niños de 5 a 11 años reciban la dosis de refuerzo cinco (5) meses después de la serie inicial de vacunación con la vacuna de Pfizer-BioNTech. (Ver el anuncio de los CDC.)

    La dosis de refuerzo es de 10 microgramos, la misma dosis de la serie principal para este grupo de edad y un tercio de la dosis que se da a personas de 12 años y mayores.

    La FDA ha determinado que los beneficios conocidos y posibles de esta dosis única de refuerzo superan los riesgos conocidos y posibles y que la dosis de refuerzo puede ayudar a proporcionar una continua protección contra el COVID-19 en este grupo y en grupos de personas mayores.

    Las vacunas son seguras y siguen siendo la manera más eficaz de prevenir el COVID-19 y sus consecuencias graves.

    Si su hijo llena los requisitos para la vacuna antiCOVID de Pfizer-BioNTech y todavía no ha recibido la serie principal, vacunarlo puede ayudar a protegerlo de las posibles consecuencias graves de la enfermedad, como la hospitalización y la muerte.

    Puede hacer la cita para la vacuna antiCOVID en UTMB o en línea por medio de MyChart.

    Gracias.

    Dr. Janak Patel, MD
    Director, Control de Infecciones y Epidemiología en la Atención Médica
    Profesor, Pediatría y Enfermedades Infecciosas

     

    Dr. Philip Keiser, MD
    Profesor, Medicina Interna y Enfermedades Infecciosas
    Autoridad de Salud del Condado de Galveston
    Presidente del Grupo de Trabajo de UTMB para Vacunación contra el COVID-19

  • FDA has approved single-dose booster for children ages 5-11

    On May 17, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age at least five months after completing a primary series with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. (See the FDA announcement.) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the booster for this age group on May 19, 2022. CDC now recommends that children ages 5 through 11 years should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. (See the CDC announcement.)

    The booster shot is 10 micrograms, the same dosage as the primary series for this age group and a third of the dosage given to people 12 and older.

    The FDA has determined that the known and potential benefits of this single booster dose outweigh its known and potential risks and that a booster dose can help provide continued protection against COVID-19 in this and older age groups.

    Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 and its severe consequences, and it is safe.

    If your child is eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and has not yet received their primary series, getting them vaccinated can help protect them from the potentially severe consequences of the disease, such as hospitalization and death.

    COVID-19 vaccines can be scheduled at UTMB online or via MyChart.

    Thank you.

    Janak Patel, MD
    Director, UTMB Infection Control and Healthcare Epidemiology
    Professor, Pediatrics/Infectious Disease

    Philip Keiser, MD
    Professor, UTMB Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases
    Galveston County Health Authority
    UTMB COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Task Force Chair

     

    Photo of Pfizer COVID Vaccine bottle
  • Clinical Task Force: An Update on COVID-19—May 12, 2022

    There has been a modest increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate in our community, which has ranged from 6% to 11% in the past week. While the COVID-19 hospitalization rate has increased only slightly, it may increase further over the next two to three weeks. Currently, UTMB is not planning any immediate changes to our COVID-19 precautions. However, if COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates increase, changes in precautions may be necessary.

    This message is intended for UTMB employees and students, who must be logged onto the UTMB network to access it. Thank you. Please click to read more.

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force: Revised masking guidelines effective immediately—April 22, 2022

    As a result of the continued low rates of COVID-19 infection in our community and among UTMB faculty, staff and students—as well as very low hospitalization rates—the following modifications to the masking policy will be implemented effective immediately, April 22, 2022. (Please note that we will continue to monitor infection and hospitalization rates in our region; therefore, these policies are subject to change on short notice, based on the most current data).

    This message is intended for UTMB employees and students, who must be logged onto the UTMB network to access it. Thank you. Please click to read more.

  • Active April - Week 4

    • Day 22 - Enjoy moving to your favorite music. Really go for it
    • Day 23 - Go out and do an errand for a loved one or neighbour
    • Day 24 - Get active in nature. Feed the birds or go wildlife-spotting
    • Day 25 - Have a ‘no screens’ night and take time to recharge yourself
    • Day 26 - Take an extra break in your day and walk outside for 15 minutes
    • Day 27 - Find a fun exercise to do while waiting for the kettle to boil
    • Day 28 - Meet a friend outside for a walk and a chat
    • Day 29 - Become an activist for a cause you really believe in
    • Day 30 - Make time to run, swim, dance, cycle or stretch today
  • Active April - Week 3

    • Day 15 - Get active by singing today (even if you think you can’t sing!)
    • Day 16 - Go exploring around your local area and notice new things
    • Day 17 - Be active outside. Dig up weeds or plant some seeds
    • Day 18 - Try a new online exercise, activity or dance class
    • Day 19 - Spend less time sitting today. Get up and move more often
    • Day 20 - Focus on 'eating a rainbow' of multi-coloured vegetables today
    • Day 21 - Regularly pause to stretch and breathe during the day
  • Active April - Week 2

    • Day 8 - Give your body a boost by laughing or making someone laugh
    • Day 9 - Turn your housework or chores into a fun form of exercise
    • Day 10 - Have a day free from TV or screens and get moving instead
    • Day 11 - Set yourself an exercise goal or sign up to an activity challenge
    • Day 12 - Move as much as possible, even if you’re stuck inside
    • Day 13 - Make sleep a priority and go to bed in good time
    • Day 14 - Relax your body & mind with yoga, tai chi or meditation
  • Segundo dosis de refuerzo disponible para ciertos grupos

    Tras la acción regulatoria de la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos (FDA) el 29 de marzo, los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) ampliaron los requisitos para que las personas que tal vez tengan un mayor riesgo de desenlaces graves debido al COVID-19 puedan recibir una dosis de refuerzo adicional de las vacunas de Pfizer-BioNTech o Moderna (ver el anuncio del 29 de marzo de los CDC).  

    Recibir el segundo refuerzo es especialmente importante para las personas de 65 y mayores y las de 50 años y mayores con padecimientos médicos subyacentes que les aumentan el riesgo de enfermedad grave debido al COVID-19. En este momento, estos grupos son los que probablemente se beneficien de recibir una dosis de refuerzo adicional.  

    Específicamente, los siguientes grupos ahora cumplen con los requisitos para recibir una segunda dosis de refuerzo con una vacuna ARN mensajero cuatro (4) meses después de la dosis de refuerzo inicial de las vacunas disponibles en este momento (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna o Johnson & Johnson/Janssen):

    • Las personas de 50 años y mayores pueden recibir una segunda dosis de refuerzo de la vacuna anticovid de Pfizer-BioNTech o Moderna.
    • Los niños inmunocomprometidos de entre 12 y 18 años (por ejemplo: viven con un trasplante de órgano sólido o una debilidad inmunológica similar) pueden recibir una segunda dosis de refuerzo solamente con la vacuna anticovid de Pfizer-BioNTech.
    • Las personas de 18 años y mayores con una debilidad inmunológica similar pueden recibir una segunda dosis de refuerzo de la vacuna anticovid de Pfizer-BioNTech o Moderna.

    No se puede utilizar la vacuna de Johnson & Johnson/Janssen para el segundo refuerzo de la vacuna. Las personas que cumplen con los requisitos y se pusieron la vacuna de Johnson & Johnson/Janssen deben ponerse la dosis de refuerzo con una vacuna ARN mensajero.  

    La información sigue mostrando la importancia de vacunarse y ponerse los refuerzos para proteger a personas tanto de la infección como de desenlaces graves causados por el COVID-19. Para los adultos y adolescentes que cumplen con los requisitos para recibir la primera dosis de refuerzo, estas vacunas son seguras y brindan un beneficio considerable.

    Durante la reciente ola causada por Omicrón, las personas que se habían puesto la dosis de refuerzo tenían 21 veces menor probabilidad de morir del COVID-19 en comparación con aquellas que no se habían vacunado y tenían una probabilidad siete veces menor de ser hospitalizadas. Los CDC siguen recomendando que todos los adultos, adolescentes y niños de 5 años y mayores que cumplen con los requisitos estén al corriente con las vacunas anticovid, lo cual incluye ponerse la dosis de refuerzo cuando cumplan con los requisitos.

    Tanto la primera, la segunda y la tercera dosis de la serie de vacunas al igual que la dosis de refuerzo están disponibles con cita en UTMB. Haga la cita para la vacuna anticovid en línea en www.utmb.edu/covid-19/spanish/vacuna#vaccine.

    Gracias.  

    Dr. Janak Patel, MD
    Director, Control de Infecciones y Epidemiología en la Atención Médica
    Profesor, Pediatría y Enfermedades Infecciosas  

    Dr. Philip Keiser, MD
    Profesor, Medicina Interna y Enfermedades Infecciosas
    Autoridad de Salud del Condado de Galveston
    Presidente del Grupo de Trabajo de UTMB para Vacunación contra el COVID-19  

    La Oficina de Mercadotecnia y Comunicaciones del Grupo de Trabajo para Vacunación contra el COVID-19 envió este mensaje.

  • Active April - Week 1

    • Day 1 - Commit to being more active this month, starting today
    • Day 2 - Spend as much time as possible outdoors today
    • Day 3 - Listen to your body and be grateful for what it can do
    • Day 4 - Eat healthy and natural food today and drink lots of water
    • Day 5 - Turn a regular activity into a playful game today
    • Day 6 - Do a body-scan meditation and really notice how your body feels
    • Day 7 - Get natural light early in the day. Dim the lights in the evening
  • Second COVID vaccine booster available for certain groups

    Following the FDA’s regulatory action on March 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccine for certain individuals who may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 (see the CDC announcement of March 29).

    Getting a second booster is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19. These groups are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time. 

    Specifically, the following groups are now eligible for a second booster with an mRNA vaccine four monthsafter their initial booster from any currently available COVID vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen):

    • Individuals age 50 and older may receive a second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Children ages 12-18 years with certain immunocompromising conditions (e.g., living with solid organ transplant or a condition with a similar level of immune compromise) can receive a second booster dose with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine only.
    • Individuals age 18 and older with the same level of immune compromise can receive a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine 

    The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine cannot be used for a second booster dose. Eligible individuals who were previously vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine should receive a booster dose with an mRNA vaccine.

    The facts continue to show the importance of vaccination and booster doses to protect individuals both from infection and severe outcomes of COVID-19. For adults and adolescents eligible for a first booster dose, these shots are safe and provide substantial benefit. 

    During the recent Omicron surge, those who were boosted were 21 times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were unvaccinated, and seven times less likely to be hospitalized. The CDC continues to recommend that all eligible adults, adolescents and children 5 and older be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting an initial booster when eligible.

    First, second and third doses and booster shots are available from UTMB by appointment. Schedule your COVID vaccine online at  www.utmb.edu/covid-19/patients#vaccine

    Thank you.

    Janak Patel, MD Director, Infection Control and Healthcare Epidemiology Professor, Pediatrics/Infectious Disease

    Philip Keiser, MD Professor, Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases Galveston County Health Authority UTMB COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Task Force Chair

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force: Revised masking and patient testing guidelines - April 1, 2022

    As a result of the continued low and stable rates of COVID infection in our community (2-3% for the past month), UTMB's COVID-19 Clinical Task Force has announced changes in COVID masking and testing precautions. The changes will be implemented beginning April 1, 2022.

    This message is intended for UTMB employees and students, who must be logged onto the UTMB network to access it. Thank you. Please click to read more.

  • Mindful March - Week 4

    • Day 22 - Notice something that is going well, even if today feels difficult
    • Day 23 - Tune in to your feelings, without judging or trying to change them
    • Day 24 - Appreciate your hands and all the things they enable you to do
    • Day 25 - Focus your attention on the good things you take for granted
    • Day 26 - Choose to spend less time looking at screens today
    • Day 27 - Cultivate a feeling of loving-kindness towards others today
    • Day 28 - Notice when you're tired and take a break as soon as possible
    • Day 29 - Choose a different route today and see what you notice
    • Day 30 - Mentally scan your body and notice what it is feeling
    • Day 31 - Discover the joy in the simple things of life
  • Mindful March - Week 3

    • Day 15 - Stop. Breathe. Notice. Repeat regularly
    • Day 16 - Get really absorbed with an interesting or creative activity
    • Day 17 - Look around and spot three things you find unusual or pleasant
    • Day 18 - If you find yourself rushing, make an effort to slow down
    • Day 19 - Appreciate nature around you, wherever you are
    • Day 20 - Focus on what makes you and others happy today
    • Day 21 - Listen to a piece of music without doing anything else
  • Mindful March - Week 2

    • Day 8 - Eat mindfully. Appreciate the taste, texture and smell of your food
    • Day 9 - Take a full breath in and out before you reply to others
    • Day 10 - Get outside and notice how the weather feels on your face
    • Day 11 - Stay fully present while drinking your cup of tea or coffee
    • Day 12 - Listen deeply to someone and really hear what they are saying
    • Day 13 - Pause to just watch the sky or clouds for a few minutes today
    • Day 14 - Find ways to enjoy any chores or tasks that you do
  • What should you do?

     

    While we are happy to see a reduction in the number of people testing positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the pandemic is not over yet.

    I have symptoms that I think might be COVID. Do I need a test?

    If you have symptoms, you should get tested. There are many testing venues offered by UTMB Health, by county and state health partners, and by other care providers. You can also use a home testing kit (often called antigen tests), if locally available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted information about home testing. The federal government is also offering via mail no cost at-home COVID-19 tests.

    Please do not visit our emergency rooms to get a COVID-19 test.

    We continue to offer reliable testing from our urgent care clinics, which offer extended hours, and primary care sites. For your convenience and safety, we offer both walk-in COVID-19 testing from any of our urgent care clinics, and scheduling for testing in our urgent care and primary care clinics. . Schedule your COVID test online.

    I have been in close contact with someone who has COVID. What does this mean?

    “Close contact” refers to time you spent directly with an infected person. This means you were within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period. If you have been in close contact with an infected person, you are at risk of infection regardless of vaccination status and should take precautions, such as masking and social distancing. Get tested if you are fully vaccinated and develop symptoms, and/or if you are unvaccinated or in high-risk category, regardless of symptoms.

    I am a UTMB employee or student and may have COVID symptoms or exposure. What should I do?

    Because of the role we play in maintaining and addressing the health of the community, we’ve prepared some detailed guidelines and protocols for our UTMB healthcare workforce and trainees, as well as for non-clinical employees and students. Please review these guidelines on testing requirements, isolation, masking, returning to work/school and more on our employee and student focused COVID web pages.

    I tested negative after an exposure. What should I do?

    If you tested negative with a home test, follow the current CDC guidelines related to quarantine and other testing. If you develop symptoms, you should test again. If a home antigen test is negative and you have symptoms, public health experts recommend getting a PCR test or testing yourself again with a home test after a few days.

    I tested positive at home. Do I need to get a PCR test?

    If you use a home testing kit and test positive, you have COVID-19. You do not need a PCR test for confirmation. Please start home isolation immediately and notify your close contacts of your positive test so they may take the appropriate precautions.

    Am I at high risk for severe COVID-19?

    High-risk conditions for severe COVID-19 include undergoing treatment for cancer, currently taking medications for transplant or taking immunosuppressant medications for other conditions. Other high-risk conditions, including having chronic lung, kidney or liver disease; diabetes; HIV; obesity; and age 65 years or older, may pre-dispose you to worse symptoms from COVID-19 or influenza. The CDC has more information about high-risk conditions online.

    I tested positive. I’m not at high risk for severe disease. I’m worried about my symptoms. What should I do?

    Mild Symptoms – Stay home and isolate

    Mild symptoms are a temperature below 100.4 degrees (below 102.4 degrees for children older than 3 months), aches and pains or a mild cough. If you have these symptoms, stay home and isolate. Rest, drink plenty of fluids and monitor your symptoms. Hopefully you will start feeling better within a few days. You do not need to contact your doctor to let them know you have COVID.

    Moderate Symptoms – Call Your UTMB Health Care Provider

    If you have moderate symptoms such as a fever higher than 100.4 degrees, significant coughing or shortness of breath, contact your primary care provider’s office, a UTMB Urgent Care clinic or our UTMB Access Center.

    For children ages 3 months and older who are not immunocompromised, a high fever is greater than 102.4 degrees. If your child has a fever, significant coughing or shortness of breath, you should call their primary care provider’s office. You should also call if they are sleepier than normal, if they have not gone to the bathroom in more than 10 hours (if 3 years or older) or more than 8 hours (if younger than 3 years old). Your child’s doctor can recommend next steps.

    Severe Symptoms – Emergency

    Go to your nearest emergency department (here are UTMB’s Emergency Departments) if you have severe symptoms such as:

    • Severe trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or dizziness
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

    If you cannot get to an emergency department, call 9-1-1.

    I tested positive and I’m at high risk for severe disease. I am worried about my symptoms. What should I do?

    Call your primary care provider’s office

    You may be eligible for outpatient COVID treatment. Because we have limited supplies of these therapies, they are being reserved for those at greatest risk.

    For example, monoclonal antibody therapy (mAB), can help fight the infection. You are eligible if you are at high risk for severe COVID-19, have a positive lab-verified COVID test and are within 2-8 days of starting symptoms.

    Read more about UTMB COVID treatment and therapies.

    Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for Pfizer’s Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets) and Merck’s molnupiravir. These are pills that can be used to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19. Paxlovid is available for adults and children 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms/88 pounds. Molnupiravir is for adults only. Both are available by prescription only for patients who are at high risk for severe COVID-19. Both should be started as soon as possible after the diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms. Participating Walmart pharmacies may have the medications in the area. Learn more on the Walmart Pharmacy COVID page and check your ZIP code for availability.

    Please note that the flu is now spreading in our community too. If you have a negative COVID test but have moderate symptoms, including fever and body aches, contact your primary care provider’s office. They may test you for the flu or give you a medication for the flu, especially if you are in one of the high-risk groups listed above.

    Please help us help you. Vaccines have proven to be effective in reducing the severity of COVID and helping avoid hospitalization. If you’ve not been vaccinated, schedule your vaccine and/or booster nowWear a mask indoors and avoid crowded or poorly ventilated places. Practice social distancing (6 ft), cover your cough and wash your hands frequently.

    We wish you the best of health and will post additional updates as they become available.

    Sincerely,

    The UTMB Health Covid-19 Clinical Task Force

     

  • Mindful March - Week 1

    • Day 1 - Set an intention to live with awareness and kindness
    • Day 2 - Notice three things you find beautiful in the outside world
    • Day 3 - Start today by appreciating your body and that you're alive
    • Day 4 - Notice how you speak to yourself and choose to use kind words
    • Day 5 - Bring to mind people you care about and send love to them
    • Day 6 - Have a "no plans" day and notice how that feels
    • Day 7 - Take three calm breaths at regular intervals during your day
  • From the COVID-19 Clinical Task Force: Updated Safety Requirements go into effect March 1

    Due to the continued declining rates of COVID-19 infections in our community (now at less than 7% test positivity for the past week), modifications are being made to various policies, effective March 1, 2022. The changes are outlined below.

    Visitation Policy Changes

    • Visitation hours will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. All visitors must remain masked while in any UTMB health care facility, including during overnight stays. Cloth masks are not acceptable.
    • Non-COVID patients in adult medical/surgical areas and ICUs are allowed a maximum of four (4) healthy visitors, age 12 or older, per day. Two (2) visitors may be allowed in the patient room at a time. One (1) visitor may stay overnight.
    • Non-COVID patients in the Labor & Delivery Unit are allowed two (2) healthy visitors—partner, spouse or other individuals chosen by the mother—to stay continuously with the laboring patient. Two (2) additional adult visitors will be allowed during visitation hours. However, only two (2) visitors may be allowed in the patient room at a time
    • Non-COVID patients in the Mother-Baby Unit, are allowed two (2) additional healthy adult visitors during visitation hours. One (1) partner, spouse or another individual chosen by the mother may stay overnight.
    • In the Neonatal ICU, a COVID-negative mother and one (1) healthy adult visitor may visit the patient. COVID-positive mothers may visit after an appropriate period of quarantine. No other visitors are allowed in the Neonatal ICU.
    • In the General Pediatrics Unit and Pediatric ICU, patients may have two (2) designated primary caregivers with them at any given time, regardless of the patient’s COVID status. Non-COVID patients are allowed two (2) additional healthy visitors, age 12 years or older, during visitation hours.

    Important Note: The visitation policy for COVID-positive patients in isolation precautions, as well as for emergency departments and clinics, has not changed. For additional details on visitation, including ambulatory clinics and procedure areas, visit www.utmbhealth.com/support-pages/visitation

     

    Meetings, Social Distancing and Masking Requirements

    • In-person meetings are encouraged, but a virtual meeting option should be offered whenever possible. Attendance should not exceed 100% of the normal maximum capacity for the room.
    • Face masks are required for all individuals 2 years of age and older in all patient care areas and in hallways and common areas of hospitals and clinic buildings. Guidance on appropriate masks to be worn for specific situations remains unchanged.
    • Face masks are encouraged but not required in non-clinical areas, such as administrative, classroom and research buildings. 
    • However, personnel who are NOT fully vaccinated, including those who are partially vaccinated or have been provided an approved exemption from the CMS federal vaccine mandate, must continue to wear specific masks as instructed at all times.
    • Personnel with high-risk medical conditions should also consider masking at all times for their own safety.
    • UTMB personnel must wear UTMB supplied masks or respiratory protection. Personal cloth masks, half-face respirators, powered air-purifying respirators or personal reusable N95 respirators (Envo Masks) are not allowed.

    COVID Testing for Procedures and Inpatient Stays

    • All patients being admitted to the hospital will continue to be tested for COVID.
    • Pre-procedure testing (operating room procedures, labor and delivery, endoscopy, naso-pharyngeal and facial procedures, cardiac catheterization, pulmonary function studies) is according to these guidelines:
      • Test is not required if the patient is asymptomatic AND not exposed to COVID in past 14 days AND is fully vaccinated with a booster dose (if applicable based on patient’s age).
      • Test is required if the patient is unvaccinated OR partially vaccinated (as appropriate for patient’s age) OR will require hospital admission after procedure.
      • Testing does not need to be repeated in the 90 days following an initial positive COVID test result.
      • When indicated, testing must be performed within 72 hours of the start of the procedure.
        • Results of tests performed at UTMB or other medical facilities are acceptable.
        • Molecular tests are preferred.
        • Positive antigen tests from UTMB or outside facilities are acceptable.
        • Negative antigen test results or results of home-based tests are not acceptable.

    Check the UTMB website for additional details on social distancing and masking. Policies on travel and antigen testing for return-to-work for COVID-infected employees remain unchanged.

    Thank you.

    Gulshan Sharma, MD, MPH, FCCP
    Senior Vice President and Chief Medical & Clinical Innovation Officer

    Janak A. Patel, MD
    Director, Department of Infection Control & Healthcare Epidemiology

     

     

  • Información actualizada de vacunas

    El 11 de febrero de 2022, los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) actualizaron las pautas de vacunación contra el COVID-19 para personas con inmunosupresión moderada o grave, además de sus recomendaciones para la vacunación contra el COVID-19 después de recibir anticuerpos monoclonales.

    Intervalo más corto para la dosis de refuerzo en personas con inmunosupresión
    Las personas con inmunosupresión moderada o grave que se pusieron una de las vacunas de ARNm antiCOVID (Pfizer-BioNTech o Moderna) deben recibir un total de cuatro (4) dosis: la primera serie de tres (3) dosis de ARNm más una (1) dosis de refuerzo de ARNm. La dosis de refuerzo se debe poner tres (3) meses después de recibir la tercera dosis de la serie principal.

    Las personas con inmunosupresión que se pusieron la vacuna antiCOVID de Johnson & Johnson deben recibir un total de tres (3) dosis: una (1) de Johnson & Johnson más una (1) de ARNm por lo menos 28 días después seguida de una (1) dosis de refuerzo de una vacuna ARNm por lo menos dos (2) meses después de la primera dosis de ARNm.

    No hay que esperar para ponerse la vacuna antiCOVID después de una infusión con anticuerpos monoclonales
    Además, las personas que recibieron anticuerpos monoclonales como parte del tratamiento para el COVID, profilaxis después de una exposición o profilaxis en anticipación a una exposición, ahora pueden ponerse la vacuna en cualquier momento. No hay necesidad de esperar para vacunarse contra el COVID después de recibir anticuerpos monoclonales.

    Tanto la primera, la segunda y la tercera dosis de la serie de vacunas al igual que la dosis de refuerzo están disponibles con cita en UTMB. Haga la cita para la vacuna antiCOVID en línea en www.utmb.edu/covid-19/patients#vaccine.

    Mientras que han bajado los casos de la variante ómicron, sigue siendo de suma importancia vacunarse y ponerse el refuerzo en los momentos recomendados para mitigar la cantidad de virus en las comunidades que atendemos.

    Gracias por sus esfuerzos continuos para promover la vacunación y reducir la propagación del COVID-19.  

    Dr. Janak Patel, MD
    Director, Control de Infecciones y Epidemiología en la Atención Médica
    Profesor, Pediatría y Enfermedades Infecciosas  

    Dr. Philip Keiser, MD
    Profesor, Medicina Interna y Enfermedades Infecciosas
    Autoridad de Salud del Condado de Galveston
    Presidente del Grupo de Trabajo de UTMB para Vacunación contra el COVID-19  

    La Oficina de Mercadotecnia y Comunicaciones del Grupo de Trabajo para Vacunación contra el COVID-19 envió este mensaje.

  • From the COVID-19 Clinical Task Force: Requirements for Employees Not Fully Vaccinated/Those With Approved Exemptions

    Effective Monday, Feb. 21, as UTMB passes the Phase 1 deadline of the federal CMS COVID vaccine mandate for UTMB employees, contractors, volunteers and students, a risk reduction plan is required to be followed by those who have received approval for exemption (permanent or temporary) from COVID vaccination or those who are not yet fully vaccinated.

    This message is intended for UTMB employees and students, who must be logged onto the UTMB network to access it. Thank you. Please click to read more.

  • Friendly February - Week 4

    • Day 22 - Give sincere compliments to people you talk to today
    • Day 23 - Be gentle with someone who you feel inclined to criticise
    • Day 24 - Tell someone about the strengths that you see in them
    • Day 25 - Thank three people you feel grateful to and tell them why
    • Day 26 - Make uninterrupted time for someone today
    • Day 27 - Call a friend to catch up and really listen to them
    • Day 28 - Give positive comments to as many people as possible today
  • Updated vaccine guidance for immunocompromised individuals and those who receive monoclonal antibody treatments

    On Feb. 11, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their COVID-19 vaccination guidance for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals, as well as their recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination after receiving COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies.

    Shortened vaccine booster interval for immunocompromised individuals

    Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) should receive a total of four doses—a primary series of three mRNA doses plus one mRNA booster dose. The booster dose should be administered three months after the completion of the three-dose primary series.

    Immunocompromised individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine should receive a total of three doses—one Johnson & Johnson dose followed by one additional mRNA dose at least 28 days later and then one mRNA booster dose at least two months after the first mRNA dose.

    No delay in COVID vaccination after monoclonal antibody infusion

    Additionally, people who previously received COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies as part of COVID-19 treatment, post-exposure prophylaxis or pre-exposure prophylaxis can now be vaccinated at any time. COVID-19 vaccination does not need to be delayed following the receipt of monoclonal antibodies.

    First, second and third doses and booster shots are available from UTMB by appointment. Schedule your COVID vaccine online at  www.utmb.edu/covid-19/patients#vaccine.

    While the most recent surge from the Omicron variant has declined, it remains critically important to get vaccinated and schedule booster doses at the recommended time to mitigate the disease burden in the communities we serve.

    Thank you for your ongoing efforts to promote vaccination and slow the spread of COVID-19.

    Janak Patel, MD
    Director, Infection Control and Healthcare Epidemiology
    Professor, Pediatrics/Infectious Disease

    Philip Keiser, MD
    Professor, Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases
    Galveston County Health Authority
    UTMB COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Task Force Chair

  • Friendly February - Week 3

    • Day 15 - Support a colleague or other department with a positive review or friendly message
    • Day 16 - Check in on someone who may be struggling and offer resources
    • Day 17 - Appreciate the good qualities of someone in your life
    • Day 18 - Respond kindly to everyone you talk to today, including yourself
    • Day 19 - Share something you find inspiring, helpful or amusing
    • Day 20 - Make a plan to connect with others and do something fun
    • Day 21 - Really listen to what people say, without judging them
  • From the COVID-19 Clinical Task Force: Updates to visitation, social distancing, masking and travel requirements

    Due to declining rates of COVID-19 infections in our community, modifications have been made to the UTMB visitation policy, social distancing and masking requirements, and travel restrictions, effective Feb. 14, 2022.

    This message is intended for UTMB employees and students, who must be logged onto the UTMB network to access it. Thank you. Please click to read more.

  • Friendly February - Week 2

    • Day 8 - Share what you’re feeling with someone you trust
    • Day 9 - Thank someone and tell them how they made a difference for you
    • Day 10 - Look for good in others, particularly when you feel frustrated with them
    • Day 11 - Send an encouraging note to someone who needs a boost
    • Day 12 - Focus on being kind rather than being right
    • Day 13 - Smile at the people you see and brighten their day
    • Day 14 - Tell someone why they are special to you
  • Friendly February - Week 1

    • Day 1 - Let someone know you’re thinking of them
    • Day 2 - Ask a colleague how they are doing
    • Day 3 - Do an act of kindness to make life easier for someone
    • Day 4 - Organise a virtual ‘tea or coffee break’ with a colleague or friend
    • Day 5 - Make time to have a friendly chat with a colleague, even brief moments lead to connection
    • Day 6 - Get back in touch with someone you’ve not seen for a while
    • Day 7 - Show an active interest by asking questions when talking to others
  • Happier January - Week 4

    • Day 22 - Plan something fun and invite others to join you
    • Day 23 - Put away digital devices periodically and focus on being in the moment
    • Day 24 - Take a small step towards an important goal
    • Day 25 - Decide to lift people up rather than put them down
    • Day 26 - Choose one of your strengths and find a way to use it today
    • Day 27 - Challenge your negative thoughts and look for the upside
    • Day 28 - Ask other people about things they've enjoyed recently
    • Day 29 - Say hello to a fellow UTMB employee from a different area and get to know them better
    • Day 30 - See how many people you can smile at today
    • Day 31 - Write down your hopes or plans for the future