COVID-19 Patient Care Updates

Need care? Visit the Appointment Information page

Get COVID-19 vaccine information and updates

When you need care, we are just a click or phone call away.

Online appointment scheduling is also available for patients.
Visit the Appointment Information page for all appointment options.

Experienced Nurse Triage Line available 24/7.
Call (800) 917-8906, day or night, and we’ll take care of you.

COVID-19 has changed many things in our region. But it hasn’t changed UTMB Health’s commitment to serving you and your family. If you need urgent care, you can now schedule online or simply call our Nurse Triage Line at (800) 917-8906, day or night.

We offer prompt, convenient Urgent Care visits from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you need routine care, visit the Appointment Information page for all appointment options.

Patient Care FAQs


  • What is a televisit?

    A televisit is an appointment via the telephone and/or possibly video chat. Televisits are used when they are medically appropriate for the patient and encouraged for your safety. These visits are set up to serve patients with existing or reoccurring appointments, and for high-risk patients.

    Last modified on 3/24/2020

  • What is an Urgent Care televisit?

    An urgent care televisit is a prompt, safe, convenient health care appointment offered via the telephone and/or video chat with the same experienced UTMB Health providers who staff our clinics.

    Televisits appointments are offered only when medically appropriate for your needs and focus on evaluation and treatment of minor primary care concerns, such as eye infections, earaches, rashes, insect bites and skin irritation, digestive issues, colds, and more. You may be given a prescription or referred for further treatment at the conclusion of the televisit.

    UTMB Health urgent care televisits are offered daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., for both new and existing patients.

    To schedule a televisit, call the UTMB Access Center Nurse Triage Line at (800) 917-8906, available 24/7. A nurse will listen to your needs and help direct you to the most appropriate care.

    Last modified on 3/27/2020

  • What do my COVID-19 test results mean?

    The most commonly encountered COVID-19 viral test results, with their interpretation, are explained online. You will also be provided a hand out that also explains what the test results mean.

    Last modified on 10/21/2020

  • Is the ER still open for non-COVID-19 emergencies?

    Yes, all UTMB emergency departments remain open. However, if only urgent care is needed, call the Access Center at (800) 917-8906 or (409) 772-2222, day or night to be directed to the most appropriate option for your care.

    Last modified on 3/24/2020

  • How do I get a refill on my prescription?
    1. Contact your pharmacy to see if there are any refills left.
    2. Use myChart to request refills if needed.
    3. If no refills are allowed via myChart, call the Access Center at (800) 917-8906 or (409) 772-2222, day or night, to request a televisit to get refills ordered.

    Last modified on 3/24/2020

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

  • How long does the virus remain active on inanimate objects, such as clothing, currency, coins, and hard surfaces such as countertops and door handles?

    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

  • How to protect yourself
    • 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

  • 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