COVID-19 Update from University Health System President/CEO
As of March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. What this means is that the WHO believes that there will be a “second wave” of infection from person to person of the COVID-19 virus. It is important that we prepare ourselves to limit possible person to person exposure and transmission to others in our community.
As of March 13, new patient and visitor screening guidelines went into effect at University Hospital and additional steps were taken to reduce the number of people in the hospital. We are making these types of decisions out of an abundance of caution as the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 is predicted to continue to grow across the United States and the world.
On Monday, March 16, screening questionnaires at ALL University Health System outpatient locations went into effect. Only visitors without symptoms and without exposure or travel history are allowed to enter our facilities. If you have an appointment at one of our clinics and do not wish to come in person, please call your clinic location. They may be able to assist you with setting up a Telehealth appointment where you can still meet with your doctor over the phone.
On Thursday, March 27, temporary clinic changes went into affect across some University Health System outpatient locations. We are consolidating many of our outpatient locations for the time being, in order to streamline operations, preserve resources and minimize risk to our patients and staff.
We all must do our part to reduce our risk of becoming ill and we must stay informed, as this public health event is continually changing.
Do your part to protect yourself and everyone around you:
- Stay home in accordance with the Stay Home/Work Safe declaration announced by San Antonio and Bexar County officials on March 23, 2020, and practice social distancing techniques as much as possible.
- Practice good hand hygiene and avoid touching your face.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve or use a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
- Disinfect surfaces you touch frequently to limit spread by hand-to-surface contact.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, first call your primary care physician’s office. If you don’t have a primary care physician, try calling ahead to any urgent care or walk-in clinic in our community. Calling ahead lets them know to prepare for your arrival and can help limit contact with other at-risk individuals.
- Avoid going to an emergency room unless you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.
- Stay informed from trustworthy news sources! CDC.gov is a good resource.
- Download the “ReadySouthTexas” app for good information and resources.
- Stay calm and do all you can in your personal communication to help reduce the spread of misinformation and rumors.
San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has set up a hotline for people with questions or concerns about COVID-19. Just call 210-207-5779.
I will continue to keep you updated to this continually changing situation. Please know that University Health System and UT Health San Antonio are working together to protect you and the community at large.
George B. Hernández, Jr.
President | Chief Executive Officer