COVID-19 Communications

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: May 7, 2020

    May 11, 2020, 10:57 AM by
    In this video message captured May 7, UTMB President ad interim Dr. Ben Raimer speaks with Dr. Susan McLellan, medical director for our Biocontainment Treatment Unit and director for Research-related Infectious Pathogens about UTMB's involvement in a clinical trial where the antiviral drug Remdesivir is being used to treat COVID-19 patients.
  • In Focus: April 30, 2020

    May 4, 2020, 16:10 PM by
    In this video message captured April 30, UTMB President ad interim Dr. Ben Raimer speaks with Dr. Owen Murray, vice president for Offender Care Services and Dr. Olubenga Ojo, Chief Medical Officer for Hospital Galveston about how UTMB's Correctional Managed Care program has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Keeping People Safe at UTMB

    April 25, 2020, 13:09 PM by
    In this video message UTMB President ad interim Dr. Ben Raimer speaks about how we are keeping our patients and employees SAFE at UTMB during COVID-19 and beyond.
  • In Focus: April 15, 2020

    April 22, 2020, 09:53 AM by
    In this video message captured April 15, UTMB President ad interim Dr. Ben Raimer speaks with Dr. Michael Laposata, chair of UTMB’s Pathology Department and leader of our Clinical Laboratories, and Dr. James Le Duc, director of the Galveston National Laboratory, about the immense work being done to conduct and process tests for COVID-19.
  • From Dr. Raimer: A Message to Our UTMB Family, April 17, 2020

    April 17, 2020, 17:00 PM by
    In this message, President ad Interim Dr. Ben Raimer addresses the financial hardships facing UTMB as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the steps we're taking to close the gap.
  • Emergency leave available for qualifying COVID-19-related reasons

    April 10, 2020, 15:47 PM by Stephen Hadley
    To help meet the needs our workforce, UTMB has enhanced its emergency leave benefit to provide eligible employees up to 80 hours of paid leave for qualifying COVID-19-related reasons. It also ensures those granted time off will receive 100% of their base pay rate for those hours, as opposed to a calculated pay rate with daily and total dollar limits prescribed by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • In Focus: April 10, 2020

    April 10, 2020, 14:53 PM by
    In this video message captured April 10, UTMB President ad interim Dr. Ben Raimer speaks with Dr. Tammy Cupit about "RISE: Resilience In Stressful Events," a initiative to help the UTMB community through the mental and emotional challenges associated with COVID-19 (and working in healthcare).
  • 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
    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.
  • In Focus: March 27, 2020

    March 28, 2020, 12:20 PM by
    In this video message, UTMB President ad interim Dr. Ben Raimer gives thanks and kudos to the many heroes working together every day to counter the threat of COVID-19. From increasing triage space on all campuses to securing supplies to keep patients and employees safe, there's no shortage of examples of the contributions countless individuals from the UTMB family are making to keep our communities safe and healthy.
  • In Focus: March 19, 2020

    March 20, 2020, 15:35 PM by
    In this video message, UTMB President ad interim Dr. Ben Raimer reassures that UTMB has what it takes to make a stand against COVID-19 thanks to the world class employees and students working hard every day to support our communities.
  • New REQUIRED personal travel form for UTMB employees and students

    March 10, 2020, 16:21 PM by Stephen Hadley
    For the safety of our faculty, staff, students, patients and visitors and to ensure that we remain prepared to serve those who need our care, the university is strongly discouraging all personal domestic and international travel due to COVID-19. This recommendation is in addition to recently announced business travel restrictions. (You can find a summary of related travel restrictions and requirements on our COVID-19 web site.)
  • In Focus: March 4, 2020

    March 6, 2020, 08:48 AM by
    In this video message, UTMB President ad interim Dr. Ben Raimer sits down with Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County Health Authority and UTMB professor of Infectious Diseases and Dr. Gulshan Sharma, vice president and chief medical and clinical innovation officer to discuss the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • Latest on COVID-19 and updated travel restrictions for UTMB employees

    March 5, 2020, 16:55 PM by Stephen Hadley
    UTMB is working with federal, state, UT System and local collaborators as we monitor the COVID-19 developments. We are now aware of new cases of COVID-19 in our region, which makes our need for more local action and prevention policies imperative.
  • Novel coronavirus update, including new travel guidance

    March 2, 2020, 13:48 PM by Jessica Wyble
  • UTMB taking precautions in case new coronavirus reaches our region

    January 30, 2020, 08:22 AM by Jessica Wyble

  • Watch the Special Town Hall meeting on COVID-19

    Date/Time: , 2020 - - Location: Levin Hall - 102 Market Street, Galveston, Texas 77550 United States
    To help increase communication about the virus to UTMB faculty, staff and students, President ad interim Dr. Ben G. Raimer hosted a special Town Hall on Friday, March 6. The meeting provided an update on what we know about the new virus, how our world-class infectious disease scientists are studying it, and how UTMB plans to respond if and when our region is affected.
A message for our communities from UTMB Health leadership...

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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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 4/29/2020

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

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