Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Information on Coronavirus

Dr. James Gibbs, West Texas A&M University Physician

The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is a disease caused by a specific virus called the SAR-CoV2 virus. 

In late 2019, there was an outbreak of a coronavirus disease that initially began in China and this disease has spread significantly in China and other countries.  This virus now involves a significant number of patients in Iran, Italy, South Korea, and some patients in Japan and even a few in the United States.  Officials at the A&M system, as well West Texas A&M University, are working hard to prepare for any possible impact to our University community.  

At this time, the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control are strongly investigating possible or potential cases.  If a person has had contact with people from these high risk areas or has had contact with someone who is known to have COVID-19 and if they develop symptoms associated with the disease (including, fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches and fatigue),  it is recommended that they be evaluated for possible COVID-19 and be isolated until the test results are available.  At this time, the tests will be provided by the local health department and Centers for Disease Control.  These people that have had possible exposure to the virus and have developed symptoms are considered persons under investigation, PUI.  It would be strongly suggested that if a student, faculty or staff member at West Texas A&M University are in this “person under investigation group” they should isolate themselves as much as possible at their home or in restricted living areas and be encouraged not to go to class or work.

It is generally felt that persons that are older or patients that have other chronic medical problems, including diabetes, asthma, COPD or other chronic illnesses, would be at a higher risk to develop more severe complications associated with this illness including pneumonia and possible severe respiratory difficulties.

This illness does last a significant long period of time. People that are felt to have this illness will need to be isolated for two weeks.  It is also possible that symptoms may worsen after eight or nine days including the development of pneumonia.

As with most viral illnesses, prevention is imperative.  People need to wash their hands very frequently with soap and water and try to avoid contact with persons that might have the illness.  I would also recommend trying to do things that could improve the person’s immune system, including getting adequate rest, eating healthy and trying to avoid stress as much as possible.   

This is an evolving topic and we are trying to keep up with the current developments as much as possible and will provide further information as it becomes available.

James Gibbs, MD
University Physician
West Texas A&M University
Student Medical Services