Responding to COVID-19

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Advancing Research, Improving Care

As an academic medical center, UT Southwestern is committed to providing you with the latest pandemic-related research that is advancing patient care and improving outcomes. We are proud to be contributing to many studies to safeguard our community from COVID-19. If you are interested in vaccination, please visit our COVID-19 Vaccination site, which features tip sheets, educational resources, and answers to frequently asked questions about vaccines, both for adults and children ages 12-15.

COVID-19 forecasting for DFW

UT Southwestern’s COVID-19 current state analysis and forecasting model illustrates how COVID-19 is spreading across DFW based on real patient data we have received from Dallas and Tarrant counties.

Masks for Everyone

We are requiring that everyone in our clinical facilities – patients, visitors, and staff – wear a mask that completely covers their nose and mouth and fits snugly. Given the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, we recommend everyone wear a medical-grade three-ply surgical mask, KN95, or N95 respirator. Cloth masks, including neck gaiters, offer a lower level of protection against Omicron. If you don't have a surgical mask, we'll be happy to provide one.

Visitor Guidelines

Patient safety is our No. 1 priority at UT Southwestern. Given the rising number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Omicron variant in our community, we are taking additional precautions to protect everyone at our hospital.

Beginning Sunday, Dec. 26, only two visitors will be allowed per patient.

We understand this temporary policy may inconvenience some patients and families, but we believe it is necessary to reduce the risk of potential exposures. Thank you for your cooperation, and for entrusting us with your care.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is spread primarily through transmission of respiratory droplets from sneezing, breathing, talking, and coughing. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others, usually within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more. People who are infected but not showing symptoms can also spread the virus to others.

To a lesser extent, COVID-19 can be spread from touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching one’s face.

To reduce the spread, it is important to:

  • Wear a mask that completely covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Stay home if you feel unwell

What's the difference between quarantine and isolation?


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that COVID-19 positive patients be isolated in either a hospital or home environment (depending on illness severity) until they are feeling better and no longer are at risk of infecting others. In addition, if you have come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should quarantine for a recommended 10 days.


Quarantine keeps someone who might be exposed to the virus, but is not known to be positive, away from others until it is clear they will not contract and spread the disease. Quarantine can end 10 days after your last contact with a person with COVID-19.  This quarantine period may be shortened to 7 days if you get tested on day 5 or later and the test returns negative.  

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms typically appear within 2 to 14 days after infection, and include:

  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat

According to the CDC, if you develop any of the following symptoms – trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face – seek medical attention immediately. 

Vaccination History Made

On Dec. 15, 2020, UT Southwestern administered its first COVID-19 vaccine doses to better protect our community from the virus. "This is history, and as health care personnel we owe it to society to be leaders."

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