Coronavirus (COVID-19) UTMB Daily Update

As of 12:55 p.m., Jan. 13, 2021:

The next update is planned for Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Separate communications will be sent as needed. Check 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 12:55 p.m., Jan. 13, 2021

  • We continue to see very concerning growth in the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations and test positivity rates throughout the Houston-Galveston region.
  • COVID safety is essential to protect ourselves, our patients and our communities.
  • Resist “COVID fatigue.
  • See the “Reminders” section below for COVID safety measures.
  • Continue to practice these safety measures even if you have been vaccinated. We cannot let down our guard until we have reached herd immunity through widespread vaccination.

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., Jan. 13, 2021


Positive results from these tests
Cumulative from March 13, 2020, to 9 a.m., Jan. 13, 2021


Patients Under Investigation for COVID-19 (PUI)
Currently hospitalized across the UTMB Health System, as of 9 a.m., Jan. 13, 2021; “PUI” = tested and awaiting results


COVID-19-positive patients in UTMB hospitals
Currently hospitalized, as of 9 a.m., Jan. 13, 2021; does not include TDCJ offenders


COVID-19-positive TDCJ patients in Hospital Galveston
Currently hospitalized, as of 9 a.m., Jan. 13, 2021


COVID-19-positive UTMB hospital patients discharged to home Cumulative as of 9 a.m., Jan. 13, 2021


Deaths among UTMB hospital patients with COVID-19
Cumulative from April 9, 2020, to 9 a.m., Jan. 13, 2021; excludes deaths that occur outside of UTMB hospitals (e.g., nursing home, home hospice)




Employee COVID Rates

  • Approximately 1.2% of our employee population is unable to work due to COVID-19.
  • UTMB has performed 9,514 tests on its employees since the pandemic began.
  • 1,506 employees have tested positive since the pandemic began (including UTMB-tested employees and self-reported results).
  • In the last 24 hours, two employees have tested positive, while 16 have returned to work.

Vaccine Administration (to date since Dec. 15, 2020)

  • First doses given: 12,847
  • Second doses given (fully vaccinated): 2,243
  • Second doses scheduled: 10,547

Vaccine News

  • Virtual Town Hall Vaccine Forum scheduled for noon, Jan. 19. Event will be livestreamed and recorded for later viewing. Visit this page for more information.
  • UTMB researchers find Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be effective against new strain of SARS-CoV-2 (see news release).
  • New UTMB infographic on how mRNA vaccines work (see the Vaccine Information page).

Vaccine Program Update

  • Vaccine supplies remain limited. See the Jan. 11, 2021 Vaccination Preparedness Task Force message regarding impact of supply on our vaccination program.
  • Read UTMB’s Vaccine Supply Notice to patients.
  • As noted in the Jan. 11 message, administration of second doses continues. If you have received the first shot, please make every effort to return for the second shot at the scheduled time.
    • Important note about allergies: If you had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose (i.e., shock or severe difficulty breathing) OR if you had a mild allergic reaction within four hours of receiving the first dose (i.e., hives, facial swelling, wheezing)—even if you didn’t require medical care—the CDC advises not getting the second dose at this time. Visit this CDC page for more information.
  • Employees who missed their appointment for the second dose should reschedule by emailing Employee Health at with “COVID Vaccine Dose 2” as the subject line.
  • See the Jan. 5 Vaccination Preparedness Task Force Update for information regarding vaccination of individuals with a SARS-CoV-2 infection or exposure.
  • Recent COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Task Force messages
    • Dec. 23, 2020 (clarifies how UTMB’s tiered approach fits within the state’s phased vaccination plan)
    • Dec. 30, 2020 (UTMB program expanding to high-risk individuals)
    • Jan. 5, 2021 (updated CDC guidance on allergic reactions, prior infection)
    • Jan. 11, 2021 (impact of vaccine supply on our vaccination program)

Reminders and Important Links

  • UTMB has ample supplies of PPE to safely provide care throughout the current wave of COVID and beyond.
  • 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.
    • Get your flu shot.
  • Check your county’s health department web site for COVID information specific to your area.
  • 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 information. 

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.

Follow these tips for a happier January:

  • Learn something new and share it with others.
  • Say positive things to the people you meet today.
  • Get moving. Do something physically active (ideally outdoors).
  • Thank someone you're grateful to and tell them why.
  • Switch off all your tech two hours before bedtime.
  • Connect with someone near you—share a smile or chat.
  • Be gentle with yourself when you make mistakes.

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.



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

  • How does COVID-19 spread?

    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

  • 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