September 13, 2023
Responding to COVID-19
Masks Optional in Some Areas
Beginning Oct. 24, 2022, based on the low level of COVID-19 transmission in our community, masks are no longer required within most UT Southwestern clinical settings if you are symptom-free, but they remain a welcome precaution. In areas where we care for immunocompromised patients, such as our cancer and transplant centers, and the Emergency Department, we will continue to require well-fitted masks to be worn. Thank you for helping protect our patients, visitors, and staff.
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 are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms typically appear within 2 to 14 days after infection, and include:
- Muscle pain
- 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.
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