Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Updates

Coronavirus Disease 2019The Houston Health Department continues to closely monitor Coronavirus Disease 2019, COVID-19. Houston-specific updates are posted below. More information about COVID-19  transmission, prevention, symptoms, cases and more is available on the Houston Health Department website.

 

Update – Feb. 17, 2020

There are currently no confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Houston or Harris County.

If a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in our community, the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health will promptly inform the public.

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Update – Feb. 11, 2020

There are currently no confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Houston or Harris County.

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19.

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) provide primary care services, even if you don’t have health insurance. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. FQHCs do not deny services due to inability to pay. There are many FQHC locations in the Houston area.

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Update – Feb. 3, 2020

Houston Health Department

There are currently no confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Houston or Harris County.

While 2019 novel coronavirus is an evolving public health threat, based on current information, the risk to our community remains low and there is no need for average Houstonians to take out-of-the-ordinary preventative actions.

“The real viral threat to Houstonians right now is the flu,” said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department. “Every year, there are upwards of 40,000 preventable flu-associated deaths in the United States.”

People can help stop the spread of the flu and other illness by:

  • getting a flu shot;
  • washing hands frequently;
  • avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth;
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • staying home when sick;
  • covering coughs and sneezes;
  • cleaning and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If a case of 2019 novel coronavirus is confirmed in our community, the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health will promptly inform the public.

More information about 2019-nCoV travel advisoriestransmissionprevention and symptoms is available from the Texas Department of State Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also offers a list of frequently asked questions.

Houston Airport System

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has directed all flights from China, and all passengers who have traveled to China within the last 14 days, to be routed through one of eleven airports,  which do not include any airports in Houston.  Therefore, CDC has informed Houston Airports that the previously announced enhanced screenings of passengers will not occur at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

CDC officials at Bush Airport routinely conduct screenings of passengers at Bush Airport, which will continue as a part of normal operations. Houston Airports stands ready with federal, state and city of Houston partners to ensure our community is protected. We are closely monitoring the latest developments and will post updates on fly2houston.com and our social media channels. 

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Update - Jan. 29, 2020

Mayor Turner joined Houston Health Department Local Health Authority Dr. David Persse and Houston Airport System representatives on Jan. 29 to provide an update on the City of Houston's response to novel coronavirus.

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Updates - Jan. 28, 2020

  • Update 3: There are currently no confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus in Houston or Harris County. The Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health only report confirmed cases of infectious disease and will promptly do so in the event of a confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus.
  • Update 2: RUMOR CONTROL: The Houston Health Department has not taken action to close any business related to novel coronavirus. Additionally, there is no current reason for people to avoid any local business due to concerns about novel coronavirus.
  • Update 1: At this time, there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Houston. As a preventative measure, CDC will expand screenings to 15 additional airports, including George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The City of Houston continues to work closely with CDC as logistics are still being finalized. At this time, Houston is waiting for further guidance on when screenings will begin. The City of Houston continues to stand ready with our partners to ensure our community is protected. We are closely monitoring the latest developments and will post updates here and on our social media platforms, @houstonhealth on Twitter and Facebook.

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Update - Jan. 27, 2020

The Houston Health Department, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas Department of State Health Services and other public health officials, continues to monitor an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

DSHS reports no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Texas at this time. While this is a serious public health threat, based on current information, the risk to the general American public is low.

Prevention

While Wuhan coronavirus is a new respiratory virus, ways to prevent respiratory illness are the same:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Travelers

CDC advises travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to China.

  • Travelers to Hubei Province, China
    • Avoid contact with sick people.
    • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider.
  • Travelers arriving from Hubei Province, China
    • Monitor for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for at least 14 days and seek medical care right away if you experience those symptoms. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
    • Avoid contact with others.
    • Not travel while sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Additional Information

Key Messages

  • Risk in Houston is low as COVID-19 is not currently spreading in Texas or the United States.
  • If you have not been around anyone with COVID-19 or have not visited an ongoing outbreak area, you are not at risk.
  • The serious viral risk to Houstonians right now is the flu.
  • Handwashing, proper hygiene and staying home if sick, limit the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19.
  • Americans should currently avoid travel to China.
  • Travelers from China should stay home or in a similar setting and monitor their health for 14 days after leaving China.
  • People who have traveled to China in the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek medical care right away. Before doing so, call ahead to tell the healthcare professionals about recent travel and symptoms.

Rumor Control

  • There is currently no reason to avoid any Houston business due to concerns about COVID-19.
  • The Houston Health Department has not acted to close any business related to COVID-19 concerns.
  • There is no need for the general public to use facemasks to protect against COVID-19.
  • The flu shot does not protect against COVID-19 but it's flu season and people 6-months and older should get a flu shot.

Factual Information

Follow the following agencies for factual information about COVID-19: