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COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) or other upper respiratory conditions, you have the option to conduct an E-visit with a Kelsey-Seybold Clinic provider. You'll receive medical advice and a care plan in one hour or less without having to leave home!  Our providers can immediately screen for COVID-19 and, if needed, direct you to the appropriate level of care or provide a care plan, including sending prescriptions to the pharmacy of your choice. 

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.?
Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on the CDC's website.

Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the Houston area?
Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the Houston area was reported on March 5, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the Houston area is available on the Texas Department of Health website.

How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly 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. It also 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.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

How can I help protect myself and others?

You can help protect yourself from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • If you are sick, help prevent the spread of respiratory illness to others by staying home.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Who is at most risk for contracting a severe case of coronavirus?
Anyone can contract COVID-19, but to date, severe cases have mostly been limited to the elderly and those with existing chronic health conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory disease.

Is there a treatment?
There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.

Is masking an effective way to prevent getting coronavirus?
There is no evidence to support that masking is any more or less effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 than it is for any other respiratory virus. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. If you visit the doctor with a cough, you should request a mask to cover your nose and mouth.

Should I be preparing an emergency stockpile of food, water, and medicine?
While the overall risk for COVID-19 in the United States remains low, the purchase of medications to help alleviate respiratory symptoms and liquids to help with hydration is a generally good practice — standard preparations normally taken during this time of year for the flu or other viruses is recommended.

What should I do about upcoming travel, both international and domestic?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is regularly updating travel recommendations as the COVID-19 circumstances evolve. Visit the CDC's website to receive the most up-to-date recommendations for travel.

What does Kelsey-Seybold recommend for people returning from countries of concern?
We recommend following CDC guidelines and best practices, which can be found on the CDC COVID-19 website. A specific page is dedicated for travelers returning, or arriving, from areas with widespread, sustained (ongoing) transmission of COVID-19 and may be found here.

Should I schedule an appointment with a Kelsey-Seybold physician if I believe I may have Coronavirus?
If you are concerned about symptoms you or a family member are experiencing, we ask that you call our 24/7 Contact Center at 713-442-0000 to speak to a medical professional who may advise you on the next steps. At Kelsey-Seybold, we follow CDC guidelines for infection control and prevention. In the interest of public safety, we ask that patients who are demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19 or respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) to contact us at 713-442-0000 for assistance.  You can also conduct an E-visit by logging into your MyKelseyOnline account.

How is Kelsey-Seybold preparing for potential coronavirus cases?
Kelsey-Seybold continues to monitor the novel coronavirus situation and follow guidance from the CDC and Houston Health Alert Network (HAN). Medical leadership for the clinic system has enacted an emergency preparedness committee to use the guidance provided by public health authorities to work through topics such as staff training and education, personal protective equipment, communications, employee health and exposures, and more.

What would lead Kelsey-Seybold Clinic to test a patient for COVID-19?
Kelsey-Seybold Clinic is following CDC guidelines for testing. If a person meets CDC criteria for symptoms and/or travel history, we will contact local health officials to arrange for COVID-19 testing.

Is Kelsey-Seybold Clinic testing for coronavirus?
No. Currently, only government agencies can order confirmatory testing.

How is Kelsey-Seybold Clinic protecting its employees from contracting coronavirus?
Kelsey-Seybold is following CDC guidelines for personal protective equipment and infection control that includes gowning, masking, and more. Our organization is continuously working to inform, train, and support our workforce so that our staff is prepared to safely and effectively help care for patients with COVID-19.

What should I do about my child's scheduled check-up with their Pediatrician? 
Currently, newborn through 12-month check-ups should not be cancelled as these are critical exams for newborns to receive immunizations and other well care checks. Parents with children over one year old with well-child exams should contact their child's pediatrician either through MyKelseyOnline or by phone to determine if their exam should be rescheduled for a future date or can be conducted using a virtual visit option.

What should I do about my scheduled elective surgery?
Following the guidance of public health officials and the CDC, we have cancelled elective surgical procedures that may be scheduled at one of Kelsey-Seybold's Ambulatory Surgery Centers or within a hospital effective Tuesday, March 17 through Tuesday, March 31.  The patient's treating physician will determine if it is appropriate to proceed with the surgery or procedure and will communicate any schedule changes with the patient.

Will diagnostic testing still be available?
At this time, we have greatly reduced all diagnostic test services to a minimal amount.  All diagnostic testing is under review for cases that are medically appropriate to be rescheduled. Patients with elective screening mammogram appointments through March 31 have been cancelled.