Coronavirus (COVID-19) UTMB Daily Update

As of 2:30 p.m., Nov. 18, 2020

Nov 18, 2020, 15:00 PM by COVID-19 Communications

The next update is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 25. Separate communications will be sent as needed. Check regularly for information relevant to you and your role in our pandemic response. Also pay attention to specific instructions from your department or school.

Current Status, as of 2:30 p.m., Nov. 18, 2020

  • No major risk from tropical weather systems for the next week.
  • UTMB continues to work with the Texas Medical Center and local health authorities to monitor the spread of COVID.
  • The number of COVID cases and test-positive rates are on the rise in the Houston-Galveston region.
  • COVID safety is vitally important to keep the number of cases manageable, especially as we head into the holiday season. Resist “COVID fatigue” at this critical time in the pandemic.

COVID-19 testing and patient data (UTMB Health System)

UTMB tests performed for UTMB patients and employees, nursing homes and Galveston County Health District screenings
Cumulative from March 13, 2020, to 9 a.m., Nov. 18, 2020


Positive results from these tests
Cumulative from March 13, 2020, to 9 a.m., Nov. 18, 2020


Patients Under Investigation for COVID-19 (PUI)
Currently hospitalized across the UTMB Health System, as of 9 a.m., Nov. 18, 2020; “PUI” = tested and awaiting results


COVID-19-positive patients in UTMB hospitals
Currently hospitalized, as of 9 a.m., Nov. 18; does not include TDCJ offenders


COVID-19-positive TDCJ patients in Hospital Galveston
Currently hospitalized, as of 9 a.m., Nov. 18, 2020


COVID-19-positive UTMB hospital patients discharged to home Cumulative as of 9 a.m., Nov. 18, 2020


Deaths among UTMB hospital patients with COVID-19
Cumulative from April 9, 2020, to 9 a.m., Nov. 18, 2020; excludes deaths that occur outside of UTMB hospitals (e.g., nursing home, home hospice)



Employee COVID Rates

  • Less than 0.5% of our employee population is unable to work due to COVID-19.
  • UTMB has performed 8,136 tests on its employees since the pandemic began.
  • 906 employees have tested positive since the pandemic began (including UTMB-tested employees and self-reported results).
  • In the last 24 hours, one employee has tested positive, while three have returned to work.


  • If you have not already done so, get your annual flu shot. See this page for more information.
  • Continue to practice COVID safety at work, at home and in public:
    • Practice frequent hand hygiene by washing thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer.
    • Practice good social distancing at all times, including in elevators and conference rooms. Continue to use teleconferencing when possible.
    • Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose in public areas. Public areas include lobbies, hallways, restrooms, office kitchens/breakrooms, copy rooms and elevators.
    • Stay home if sick. This is particularly important if you have respiratory symptoms or if you have been in contact with someone who may have COVID-19.
  • Check your county’s health department web site for COVID information specific to your area.
  • The UTMB COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Task Force continues developing plans for managing any COVID vaccines that may be received by the university once approved by the FDA. Stay tuned for more details on the UTMB plan soon.
  • Free mental health support for frontline workers: Hospital staff who are experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the pandemic are encouraged to access free mental health support through the state’s 24-hour hotline. The service is available to all Texans. Frontline workers can also access a virtual support group tailored specifically to meet their unique needs. Dial 833/986-1919 for general support or to be referred to the virtual support group. See HHSC’s flyer for more. 

Wellness Tips

From your RISE (Resilience in Stressful Events) Task Force. Join us in focusing on at least one brief, healthy practice a day. Send pics, videos, stories or shout-outs to as we work together to stay healthy and resilient.

  • Write down your worries, put them in a box or jar and leave them to a later brief, specific “worry time.”
  • If there is something you can’t change, try changing the way you’re thinking about it.
  • Ask yourself, “what’s the BEST that can happen?”
  • Make a list of 3 things you are hopeful about.
  • Notice when you are feeling judgmental and replace it with kindness and empathy.
  • Identify what has helped you get through tough times in life and write those down in a journal.
  • Identify what you have learned from a recent difficult challenge or time.

Click here for information on resiliency, wellness and mental health resources immediately available to employees and their families, and students.

This update sent by the Office of Marketing and Communications, on behalf of President ad interim Dr. Ben G. Raimer and the UTMB Health Incident Command leadership.


Resources for:

COVID-19 General 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, 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

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

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

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

  • 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

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

External Resources