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Stay safe from COVID-19 pendamic

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in responding to the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) that is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness worldwide.

Case counts can now be found on the COVID-19 case dashboard. (Excel: Accessible version | County Cases over Time
All data are provisional and subject to change.

Browse this site for what to do if you're sicktesting informationsymptoms, and prevention tips to help DSHS share facts, not fear.

Hospitals, healthcare professionals, local public health, community leaders, and others can find resources throughout this website to help them in their response to COVID‑19.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available. Check back often for the latest details and what Texans need to know about COVID‑19.

Texas Executive Orders & Public Health Disaster Declaration

On March 31, 2020, Gov. Abbott issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols. The protocols renew the Governor's directive to avoid eating or drinking inside at bars, restaurants, and food courts, although use of drive-thru, pickup, and delivery for food is highly encouraged. The order prohibits visiting gyms or massage establishments, and expands to include tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons. It also extends social distancing measures to April 30, 2020, and schools will remain closed to in-person classroom attendance through May 4, 2020.

On March 30 and March 26, Gov. Abbott issued several self-quarantine edicts for travelers returning from certain locations within the United States. For complete details on which returning travelers are subject to these self-quarantine orders, see our Information for Travelers page. Instructions for self-quarantined travelers can be found on the CDC COVID‑19 Traveler Information Card.

On March 19, 2020, Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of Texas DSHS, declared a public health disaster in Texas, because COVID-19 “has created an immediate threat, poses a high risk of death to a large number of people, and creates a substantial risk of public exposure because of the disease’s method of transmission and evidence that there is community spread in Texas.”

See also the CDC website for the latest developments on COVID‑19: 

What to Do If You Are Sick

Symptoms of COVID‑19 may show up 2‑14 days after exposure. The steps you should take if you think you are sick with COVID‑19 depend on whether you have a higher risk of developing severe illness.

High-Risk Individuals:

  • icon of older adult
    Older adults (65 years and older)
  • heart disease icon
    Heart Disease
  • diabetes icon
  • cancer icon
  • immune system icon
    Weakened Immune Systems
  • People 65 years or older, and/or people with medical issues, like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or a weakened immune system, are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID‑19.
  • If you are a high-risk individual and you develop fever or symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow your doctor's instructions and refer to CDC recommendations for how to take care of yourself at home.

General Population:

  • If you are in generally good health and have mild symptoms, stay home and take care of yourself like you would for a cold or the flu. 
  • If symptoms worsen, call your doctor.

If you are sick or are caring for someone who is sick, you can use the Coronavirus Self-Checker on the CDC’s Symptoms & Testing page to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.

If you need help finding a doctor or accessing medical care, call 2‑1‑1 and they can direct you to low- or no-cost providers in your area.

See the CDC website for more information on how to take care of yourself and others at home if sick:

Information on disinfecting your home and disposing of contaminated waste if someone is sick can also be found on the CDC and TCEQ websites:

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COVID-19 Testing

Your doctor will help make the decision if you should get tested for COVID‑19.

If you do not have health insurance, you can still get tested for COVID‑19 if your doctor or healthcare provider recommends it.

For information about testing, you just need to call your doctor and/or access care the way you usually do. If you need help finding a doctor or accessing medical care, call 2‑1‑1 and they can direct you to low- or no-cost providers in your area.

People can get tested for COVID‑19 at drive‑thru locations in certain parts of Texas. 

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Symptoms of COVID-19

Patients with COVID‑19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include:

Fever icon


cough icon


short breath icon

Shortness of Breath

Learn more about COVID‑19 symptoms on the CDC website.

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Prevention of COVID-19

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID‑19. The best way to prevent infection is to take steps to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the steps you take to avoid the flu. 

  • hand washing icon
    Wash hands with soap and water.
  • hand sanitizer icon
    Use hand sanitizer as backup.
  • cough icon
    Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • eye touching icon
    Avoid touching face.
  • disinfect icon
    Disinfect often touched surfaces.
  • close contact icon
    Avoid close contact.

DSHS recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus, including COVID‑19:

  • Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same.
  • If no soap and water are available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched often.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

DSHS also recommends that you start practicing social distancing. Social distancing involves staying away from other people to avoid catching or spreading illness. It's a fancy term for avoiding crowds and minimizing physical contact. This could mean avoiding concerts or weddings, skipping the handshake, and/or staying at least six feet away from others.

See the CDC website for more information on what you can do at home to prevent the spread of COVID‑19:

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How COVID-19 Spreads

Current understanding about how the virus that causes COVID‑19 spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Download the Stop the Spread of Germs flyer.

Read the latest information from the CDC on how COVID‑19 is spread.

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Learn More

To learn key facts and help stop the spread of rumors, see the Share Facts, Not Fear page on the CDC's COVID‑19 website.

For more in-depth information on COVID‑19, see the CDC's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like more information about COVID-19, contact us by email or by phone:
Phone:* Dial 2‑1‑1, then choose Option 6.
Hours: 24/7

*If you experience difficulty when dialing 2-1-1, please email

For local assistance, see the listing of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‑19) Local Health Entities.

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This page is being updated as new information becomes available.

Last updated April 2, 2020


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