HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department will open a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call center on Monday for Houston residents needing more information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Houstonians can call the center at 832-393-4220 to speak to department staff and obtain information about the disease or get their questions answered.
The call center will open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will return voice messages left after hours the following day on a first call, first served basis.
Houston healthcare providers can continue to call 832-393-5080.
“While we are all bombarded with a huge amount of information about COVID-19, some people may find certain details confusing or even worrisome,” said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department. “Our aim is to make sure the public has the facts on how to best protect themselves and allay any fears.”
The department reported two COVID-19 cases in Houston last week and launched public health investigations to identify potential contacts exposed to the virus. It is providing guidance about the virus to close contacts and monitoring them for the development of symptoms. Counties surrounding Houston have reported 10 cases.
While COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus, daily precautions recommended to prevent respiratory illnesses are the same:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, use the elbow of your sleeve.
- Don’t use your hands to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick and keep children home when they are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Get a flu shot. (Although the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it is flu season.)
People who recently returned to the United States from international travel need to monitor for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for at least 14 days and seek medical care right away if they develop symptoms. Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, symptomatic people with a history of international travel must call ahead to tell the healthcare professionals about their recent travel and symptoms.
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing.
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
Houstonians may visit HoustonEmergency.org for updated information about local risk, routine protective actions, frequently asked questions, communication resources, rumor control, emergency preparedness tips and more.