Texas Tech University

Coronavirus Pandemic, 2019

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

Situation Summary

The current outbreak involving a novel strain of Coronavirus, formerly 2019-nCoV - now officially named SARS-CoV-2,  is an evolving situation in which there are many unknowns.  A summary of what is known is presented here and links provided to local, federal and global agencies are provided. 

Globally:  On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that COVID-19 has officially met the qualifications of a pandemic, just 6 weeks after the outbreak warranted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).  On February 11th, the WHO in conjunction with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)has formally named the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV) to COVID-19, short for "coronavirus disease 2019."  There is now community spread in multiple countries.  

United States:  Community spread is now apparent in certain states within the US. The CDC updates the US case count Monday-Friday by noon. Local health departments will have the most-current information for a given area. 

Multiple travel notices have been issued from both the U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Presently, US borders are closed except for commercial travel between Canada and Mexico.

Texas:  The Texas case-count is updated daily at noon on the DSHS website.  There are small areas of community transmission popping up in the state at this time.  

The HUB: The Lubbock county case count is available here:  https://ci.lubbock.tx.us/covid19.   We have had instances of community acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 in Lubbock.  Executive orders and declarations for the City of Lubbock are available here:  https://ci.lubbock.tx.us/departments/health-department/about-us/executive-orders-declarations.  

 Quick Facts

Symptoms are general cold symptoms:

  • Fever
  • DRY cough
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath. 
    • Shortness of breath and high fever can result in lethargy.
    • Additional signs & symptoms of low oxygen blood oxygen (hypoxemia) also include:  headache, rapid heartbeat, confusion, and bluish color on skin, fingernails and lips.  Seek medial attention if you are experiencing signs of low oxygen.
  • Diarrhea / GI upset (in some patients)

The primary difference between COVID-19 and influenza symptoms is that the nasal drainage, body aches, and sore throat associated with influenza are generally absent in COVID-19; however their presence does not exclude COVID-19.  Patients who present with symptoms and test negative for the flu will be tested for SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.  

If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19:

  • CALL your healthcare provider FIRST. Many providers are screening patients before they arrive at their clinic.
  • Consider a "virtual visit" if your insurance offers this evaluation option.
  • You can also visit the drive up clinic at UMC. More information about the drive-up clinic is here: https://www.umchealthsystem.com/covid-19/.

Illness severity varies from mild to severe.  Possible risk factors for progressing to severe illness may include, but are not limited to:

  • older age
  • underlying chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, renal disease, liver disease, and diabetes
  • immunocompromising conditions, including pregnancy

At present, there is no vaccine or specific treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection available; care is supportive only.  This is a virus so antibiotics would only be used if a secondary bacterial infection is present.  

Prevention measures are the same for any respiratory illness.  Help keep yourself and others healthy and encourage others to do their part by following common prevention guidelines.

Prevention

There are simple steps everyone can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and influenza.

Practice good hand hygiene.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Especially after using the restroom.  There is evidence to suggest fecal-oral transmission.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-70% alcohol if soap and water are not available and rub hands together vigorously until sanitizer is evaporated.
  • Hand sanitizer is not a replacement for hand washing; if hands are visibly soiled, use soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with an effective disinfectant.

  • Use a 1:10 dilution of household bleach to water or 70% ethanol. Make sure surfaces stay wet for at least 1 minute. 

From Awareness to Preparedness

The CDC has indicated that it will draw from an article that appeared in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report entitled, "Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza — United States, 2017."

The CDC has posted specific guidance about minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in communities.  

Our Commitment 

We will continue to do our best to update this page periodically as this situation evolves.  We are committed to being a to be a source of information for our campus family and the greater community.  If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to us at safety@ttu.edu.