Critical Daily Updates
- UT Health Physicians remains open for care.
- No companions are allowed at your appointment, unless one needed for assistance.
- We are screening all who enter our facilities for symptoms, which includes taking their temperature. We also are screening staff and providers. This happens before anyone can enter the building.
- If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, call to inform your care team before arriving at your appointment.
- We are now offering video visits through our MyChart online portal.
- Call your doctor’s office to ask about video visits and sign up for MyChart.
- We are postponing some elective procedures and follow-up visits when it is safe to do so.
- The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District maintains a COVID-19 health website that has up-to-date information about the virus and its impact on the city.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides up-to-the-minute information about COVID-19, as well as tips to protect yourself and your family.
- As the transmission of COVID-19 escalates rapidly, social distancing is important, and any travel is strongly discouraged. Learn more about protecting yourself at this CDC page.
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What you need to know
UT Health Physicians is actively monitoring the outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (termed "COVID-19") that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The virus has rapidly spread to several countries, including the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is closely monitoring the situation in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). Our team is also monitoring the COVID-19 situation worldwide and locally and is taking action to prevent transmission of the disease. We rely on information provided by the CDC, WHO, the U.S. State Department, state and local health departments, and on-campus public health experts to guide decisions concerning our operations and maintain a safe environment for our patients.
Most importantly, please follow the precautions issued by the CDC and the advice of their program providers regarding health and safety measures.
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3/24/20 8:00 a.m.
Increased Safety Measures for Keeping our Patients Healthy
On Thursday, March 19, San Antonio identified its first case of community acquired COVID-19. This prompted our practice to enact increased safety measures for keeping our patients, staff and community healthy while helping control the coronavirus outbreak. UT Health San Antonio has implemented these strategies that will greatly enhance our ability to care for our patients without added risks to them or our employees:
1. We are decreasing the total number of people in our practices to decrease the risk of exposure.
- We now offer telehealth appointments using our patients’ MyChart accounts. Depending on their type of appointment and medical history, patients will be given the option to schedule a video or telephone visit as an alternative to coming into the office in-person.
- We are postponing some follow-up visits for a later date, if it is medically safe to do so.
2. We have increased our COVID-19 screening procedures to enhance identification of illness and limit spread.
- All patients will be screened for possible COVID-19 exposure as well as associated symptoms, including new onset of cough, fever and/or shortness of breath.
- Temperature checks will be taken at the entrance of all our facilities.
3.We have enhanced our environmental safety measures to reduce the exposure risk for our patients and employees.
- All patients will undergo hand sanitation procedures during their screening as well as in the waiting room.
- Every elevator and all commonly touched surfaces are disinfected every 2 hours.
- Waiting rooms and high-touch surfaces are cleaned with disinfectant solution every 2 hours
- Medical equipment and high-touch surfaces are also meticulously disinfected with disinfectant solution between every patient.
- Waiting room chairs are spread at least 6 feet apart to promote social distancing.
4. When possible, we are rescheduling or canceling elective procedures to reduce the risk of exposure.
3/15/20: Message from UT Health San Antonio Chief Medical Officer
At UT Health San Antonio we care about your health and safety and are working closely with San Antonio Metro Health, Texas Health and Human Services, city officials, and local partners to keep you updated on COVID-19.
We are still in the height of cold and flu season. The best way to protect yourself from such viruses including COVID-19 is by washing your hands often, covering your mouth with a tissue or your arm (not your hand) when coughing, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
If you do get sick, then stay home to limit the spread of illness. Sometimes it is difficult to know when to seek medical care for these acute health issues, so having professional help at a moment's notice is invaluable. Your primary care team can provide you that information. They can also help you decide whether self-care is the best option, or if it is better you see a healthcare provider.
If you have recently traveled out of the country or if you have cold-like symptoms, we ask you please call the practice before arriving for your visit. By knowing this information, we can better provide the care you need.
Likewise, when visiting our facilities, we also ask that you not bring any companions to your appointment, unless one is needed for assistance. We understand there may occasionally need to be an exception, but for your safety and others, we seek to limit the number of people coming into contact with each other.
The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has a COVID-19 hotline available in English and Spanish. Call 210-207-5779 Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. or go to sanantonio.gov/health/2019ncoronavirus.
For more information about virus prevention, visit www.cdc.gov. For more information on COVID-19, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
Bob Leverence MD
Chief Medical Officer, UT Health San Antonio
3/13/20: COVID-19 Precautions and Safety Protocols | UT Health Physicians
To ensure the safety of our staff and our patients, we are enhancing our protocols and safety measures.
- All patients will be screened by phone for COVID-19 risk factors prior to scheduling an appointment.
- All patients will be seen and those who have demonstrated a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission will be treated virtually or in a manner that prevents the potential spread of illness.
- Patients are asked not to bring any companions to their appointments, unless one is needed for assistance.
- Visitors and vendors are restricted at the Mays Cancer Center to protect those patients who may be at higher risk.
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Q: Is UT Health Physicians still open for patients?
A: Yes, UT Health Physicians is still open for patient care appointments. Patients and caregivers with questions or concerns should contact their care team via MyChart or through a phone call. Outside of business hours, please call 210-450-9000. If you don’t have a MyChart account, call your doctor's office for help creating one.
Q: What do patients need to know before they come for their appointments?
- We will call you the day before your appointment to screen for COVID-19. We will ask you about any current symptoms you may be experiencing, and any recent travel or possible exposure to the virus.
- You will also be screened when you arrive for your appointment. This will include a temperature check at the entrance of our facility.
- If you have a fever, cough, runny nose or shortness of breath, contact your care team before your appointment.
- To reduce the spread of infection, do not bring any companions to your appointment. Exceptions include parents of patients and those who need to assist patients during their appointment.
Q: What is UT Health Physicians doing to protect its patients and staff?
A: We have implemented the following precautions:
- We are screening patients for possible COVID-19 infection when they schedule an appointment, the day before their appointment and again at the time of their appointment. We will take your temperature and ask about any current symptoms you may be experiencing, as well as any recent travel or possible exposure to the virus.
- We have special measures in place for screening all employees, staff and providers. No companions are allowed at your appointment, unless one is needed for assistance.
- We are canceling or postponing elective procedures and follow-up visits when it is safe to do so.
- We have enhanced our environmental health and safety protocols to ensure clean spaces and promote social distancing.
- We are canceling all business travel, domestic and international, for our providers until further notice.
- We have restricted vendors, volunteers and community visitors from all of our practice locations.
- We have canceled or moved to online meetings for all work meetings, support groups and events involving 10 or more individuals.
Q: How is COVID-19 spread?
A: COVID-19 is spread through direct contact with someone who has the virus, by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth, or by inhaling the tiny moisture droplets that are exhaled, sneezed or coughed into the air by someone who has the virus. Learn how to prepare and protect yourself at this CDC page.
Q: What do patients need to know before they come for their appointments?
- We will call you the day before your appointment to screen for COVID-19. You will also be screened at your appointment.
- If you have a fever, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath, contact your care team before your appointment.
- To reduce the spread of infection, bring no companions to your appointment, unless one is needed for assistance.
Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
A: According to the CDC, the following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Fever greater than 100.4º F/38º C
- Coughing, or
- Shortness of breath
Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms on this CDC page.
Q: If I find myself in a 14-day self-isolation because I have been exposed to COVID-19, what are recommendations to protect my family members?
A: As the number of self-isolation cases increase, UT Health San Antonio is following the CDC's recommendation for preventing the spread of COVID-19, specifically while in 14-day isolation. View the CDC recommendations for you and your family.
Q: What can I do to stay healthy?
A: It is critical that we all practice good hygiene and social distancing. Most importantly, stay home if you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms.
You can always visit the CDC website for up-to-date information.
Information will be continuously updated on this site, and you can always contact your care team using MyChart or by phone. Our highest priority is to sustain the health of our community.
Q: What to do if you get sick?
A: If you get sick with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing:
- Seek medical care. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
- Tell your doctor about your recent travel, exposure to someone who has traveled, and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- If you become sick with COVID-19 follow these CDC guidelines.
If you need to seek medical care for other reasons, use MyChart or call ahead to your doctor to tell them about your recent travel to an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
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