COVID-19: FAQ

What is 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. Patients with COVID 19- have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Some patients develop pneumonia and a small amount of these patients have fatal cases.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

Practicing proper hygiene is vital to containing the spread of COVID-19 since the illness is predominantly spread 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. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of your arm. It is important to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Forgo shaking hands with people for a while, they will understand. At this time, CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. People are thought to be the most contagious when they are they are most symptomatic (the sickest).

Has anyone local tested positive for COVID-19?

For more information on the number of cases reported in Texas counties please see the Texas Department of Health and Human Services website at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/news/updates.shtm#coronavirus.

What is the hospital doing to prepare for COVID-19 arriving in our community?

Guadalupe Regional Medical Center is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and has a preparedness plan in place for identifying, triaging, and treating patients with suspected COVID-19. We are in close contact with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (aka TDHHS) via a daily call and are monitoring Centers for Disease Control recommendations as this scenario unfolds. GRMC is actively partnering with local emergency responders and STRAC (South Texas Regional Advisory Council) on emergency preparedness in addition to communicating with the local medical community. GRMC is ready to activate emergency response measures if necessary.

GRMC will continue to:

  • Follow updated guidance from CDC/TDHHS for the management of Persons Under Investigation for COVID-19;
  • Use CDC recommended methods of disinfecting our facility with a focus on high-touch areas;
  • Take care of our patients and staff by providing education on updated CDC recommendations for use of personal protective equipment and other infection control measures; and
  • Educate our community on hygiene practices that support containment.

Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

Testing can be performed at a variety of places including physician offices, Urgent Care Centers, and hospitals. However, testing should only be performed on those with symptoms that meet the criteria set forth by the Centers for Disease Control which include fever, cough, sore throat, new shortness of breath, have traveled to/from China, Japan, Iran, South Korea, Italy or Europe OR attended large gatherings, such as conferences or sporting events, OR had contact with a person confirmed for COVID-19 infection within the last 14 days.

How much does testing cost?

Unknown at this time.

What can I do if I don’t have a local doctor and I want to be tested?

If you don’t have a local doctor you can call the GRMC physician referral line (830-401-7401). Testing will be determined by the physician. If you are feeling ill and have the symptoms described (question #1) you can visit an Urgent Care Center or come to the Emergency Room for severe symptoms.

Can children and babies also be tested for COVID-19?

Children and babies can be tested if they meet the criteria and a physician orders the test. Children seem to have a milder version of the disease and fully recover.

Is there a process to follow when coming to the ER if I think I’m sick with COVID-19?

If you believe you are sick with COVID-19 you should first call your local healthcare provider. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. There is no treatment specifically approved for this virus. If you have severe enough symptoms that you feel you need to be seen in the Emergency Room, please call ahead by dialing (830) 379-2411 and the operator will connect you to the Emergency Room. The Emergency room will direct you on how to proceed.

Where is the closest drive through testing for COVID-19?

San Antonio has drive-thru locations. Refer to the internet for the exact locations.

I have a fever, who can I talk to about if I have COVID-19?

Contact your primary care physician.

Can I get lab or imaging work done my doctor ordered?

The laboratory and imaging departments are open and can perform tests you doctor orders.

Is it safe to come to the hospital for lab work or imaging?

GRMC is taking precautions to ensure a safe environment for patients, staff and physicians. All people entering the facility will be screened for signs of respiratory illness.

Who can I talk to for more information?

Please contact your local healthcare provider for information or access up-to-date information from the Centers for Disease Control using this link https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html. You may also dial 2-1-1 to contact the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Are you giving masks and gloves out for people to use?

Availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is limited, so healthcare facilities need to conserve this equipment to ensure availability for the duration of the pandemic. Anyone experiencing a respiratory illness that comes to the hospital will be given a mask to wear to protect others.

Will I get COVID-19 if someone coughed by me?

While it’s difficult to know if you will get COVID-19 after being coughed on, COVID-19 is transmitted like the flu through respiratory droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (typically within 6 feet) or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. You should continue to wash your hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and practice social distancing.

You can find more information on the website for the Centers for Disease Control Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#anchor_1584386215012