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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are there any cases of COVID-19 in Randall County, which includes WT?

Cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in our area. Please visit the COVID-19 websites of the Center for Disease Control, the Texas Department of State Health Services and the City of Amarillo for the latest information.

What is COVID-19 and how does it spread?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus, which can cause illness in humans and animals. Those who have become sick are reported to suffer coughs, fever, breathing difficulties and tiredness. In severe cases, organ failure has been reported.

  • What experts know about COVID-19, a relatively new virus, is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. The World Health Organization named this illness “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated COVID-19).
  • Person-to-person: The CDC says that the virus is spread mainly from person-to-person, which means those who are in close contact with one another, and/or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby and possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • CDC officials say that it is possible a person can contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or an object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes, but they said this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?

Medical experts across the globe are rushing to find a cure. However, there is not one at this time. The disease is viral, which means antibiotics will not help; the antiviral drugs that work against the flu do not work against coronavirus. Those with a weak immune system and those who already are sick are urged to be especially cautious.

How can I tell if I have the coronavirus?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80 percent) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. 

What should I do if I have a cough?

Seek medical advice from your doctor, stay indoors and avoid contact with others, just as you would with the flu. Those with contagious diseases should stay home from work or school until they are well. People with fever, cough and respiratory issues should seek immediate medical attention.

What if my roommate has a cough?

The WHO recommends staying three feet away from a person who is sick. The main way this disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The CDC says some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

How can I protect myself from the virus?

Stay educated on the disease by reading the CDC website. Most people who become infected experience a mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others.

Take care of yourself by doing the following:

  • Stay home if you don’t feel well. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for 20 seconds. This helps kill viruses that might be on your hand.
  • Respect social guidelines and maintain at least six feet of distance between you and others.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Follow good respiratory hygiene, which means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue immediately.

Should I wear a mask?

The WHO suggests people with no respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, do not need to wear a medical mask, but those who do have symptoms of COVID-19 and those caring for individuals who have symptoms (coughing, sneezing) should wear a mask.

What is the risk for developing the coronavirus in Texas?

The Texas Department of State Health Services has declared a public health disaster in Texas. COVID-19 "has created an immediate threat, poses a high risk of death to a large number of people, and creates a substantial risk of public exposure because of the disease's method of transmission and evidence that there is community spread in Texas." Continue to avoid close contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; stay home when you are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; avoid shaking hands; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

What is WT recommending for its study abroad students:

WT has suspended all study abroad programs until further notice.

For students, faculty and staff who have traveled to a country considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be a level 3 risk for coronavirus are required to follow the guidelines to self-quarantine for two weeks, and not return to campus unless they are asymptomatic for that period.

Travel restrictions due to widespread ongoing transmission of COVID-19

The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel. 

What countries are at risk with COVID-19?

The CDC has established a geographic risk-stratification criteria for the purpose of issuing travel health notices for countries with COVID-19 transmission and guiding public health management decisions for people with potential travel-related exposures to COVID-19. A number of factors inform the geographic risk stratification, including size, geographic distribution and epidemiology of the outbreak. View a risk assessment map.

Read health notices on the CDC and U.S. State Department.

Returning from travel

If you have traveled internationally in the past 14 days, stay home and monitor your health:

  • Seek medical advice – Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel on public transportation 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 to avoid spreading the virus to others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Read about the difference between isolation and quarantine.

Where should I go to get accurate information on COVID-19?