Coronavirus Disease 2019 commonly called COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that was first reported from Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Since that time the disease has caused multiple large epidemics in every country throughout the world. While the disease is called COVID-19, the virus is called SARS-CoV-2 and is defined by the signs and symptoms of the illness.
The illness has a wide range of reported symptoms that may include fever, chills, headache, cough, sore throat, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, loss of taste or smell, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
While most people will have mild to moderate illness, some will develop severe illness with persistent high fever, shortness of breath, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, or the inability to stay awake.
Severe illness often requires long term hospitalization and can lead to death. Since the first cases were found in Tarrant County in March 2020, the illness has gone on to be the third leading cause of death in the county behind only heart disease and stroke.
What causes COVID-19?
The disease is caused by a Coronavirus virus called “SARS-CoV-2.” Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that infect many different animals. Typical human coronaviruses infect people very year and are part of a large group of viruses that cause the common cold.
However, some of the coronaviruses that infect animals can also infect people and have the potential to cause epidemics of severe illness. Recent examples include SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 (the cause of COVID-19).
COVID-19: How it's spread and prevented
This short animated video from Stanford Medicine illustrates practices for getting well and keeping others healthy when you experience symptoms of COVID-19.
Staying safe when COVID-19 strikes
This short animated video from Stanford Medicine illustrates how the novel coronavirus — the virus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19 — is transmitted among people and how transmission can be prevented.
Frequently Asked Questions
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|How many cases of coronavirus have been identified?||For an update of cases in Tarrant County, go to the Tarrant County Public Health Coronavirus webpage. For an update of cases in Texas and a breakdown of cases by county for the state of Texas, refer to the Texas Department of State Health Services.|
|What are the symptoms of COVID-19?||Symptoms can include: fever, cough, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, and fatigue. In severe cases it can include: persistent high fever, shortness of breath, and Pneumonia.|
|What are the differences between Coronavirus, allergies, and the flu?||This chart will show you the differences between coronavirus, allergies and the flu.|
|Who is most at risk of becoming seriously ill?||Those who are most at risk are: people who are unvaccinated, people over age 60, people with pre-existing conditions, such as: diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, and people with compromised immune systems|
|How is COVID-19 transmitted?||COVID-19 is easily spread person-to-person, primarily by: being in close contact with an infected person, an infected person coughing or sneezing, and/or touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. It can take anywhere from 2 days up to 14 days from being exposed to the virus before you will get sick, People who are infected but do not have sumptoms can also spread the virus to others.|
|What is local or community transmission and has it happened in Tarrant County?||Local or community transmission is when the virus is spreading from person-to-person within the community rather than being acquired through travel. Though household cases are examples of community transmission, the concern is with continued spread beyond a single household or cluster such that the chain of infection cannot be easily identified. Tarrant County Public Health measures community spread on its coronavirus dashboard.|
|What can I do to prevent getting COVID-19?||
|What should I do if I get sick?||
|How do I get tested for coronavirus?||Testing sites in Tarrant County.|
|How is coronavirus treated?||Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from getting sever COVID-19 symptoms. Other options typically only treat the symptom, helping to provide comfort until recovery. Other treatments may be approved by the FDA in the future.|
|If I am planning to travel, should I go?||Check the CDC website for updates on where travel should be avoided regardless of your risk for complications from coronavirus infection. If you are high-risk, you are advised not to travel.|
|What is case and contact tracing?||Visit contact tracing and Alert Messaging to learn more.|
|What are containment measures or nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs)?||
Containment measures are activities to slow the spread of disease. They can be done on the individual level, such as asking a person to voluntarily stay home when they have been exposed to a disease, requiring ill persons to stay home or they can be applied to communities. When community containment measures are used, the goal is to stop or slow an outbreak and help prevent the medical system from being overwhelmed. In the coronavirus response, two containment measures may be implemented:
It is not realistic to think these techniques are going to stop all diseases. However, they are meant to slow the rate of new infections to a point where the healthcare system is able to respond and provide time for a vaccine to be produced.
|What if I am vaccinated and is exposed to someone with COVID-19?||Visit the recommendations for quarantine for those who are vaccinated.|
|Should I get tested?||
You should consider getting tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms (a fever of 100.4 or greater, cough and shortness of breath) or you:
|How much does testing cost?||Testing is free.|
|What do I need to bring?||Please have a valid photo ID.|
|Can I bring a friend/spouse/children/family member to get tested with me?||Yes.|
|What's the testing process?||At each site, they will identify you based on your ID with picture and will walk you through instructions. Next, they will take you through the actual testing process, where you will perform either a saliva test or a swab into your nose. Then they will bag your swab and send it for testing.|
|When will my results be available?||COVID-19 test results take approximately 2-3 days depending on the demand for testing. You will be contacted by someone from Tarrant County Public Health whether your results are positive or negative. If you have not received your test results in three days, please call: 817-248-6299|
|Do booster shots have the same formulation as existing vaccines?||Yes, COVID-19 booster shots are the same formulation as the current COVID-19 vaccines.|
|What if I've lost my vaccination card?||Visit our Vaccination Records request page to find out how to get a replacement card.|
|Is the booster shot also free?||Yes.|
|Will providers accept anyone who says they’re eligible to receive a booster shot? Will people need to show a doctor’s note/prescription or other documentation?||Individuals can self-report that they are eligible and receive a booster shot wherever vaccines are offered. This will help ensure there are not additional barriers to access for this vulnerable population receiving their booster shot.|
|Does boosters change the definition of “fully vaccinated” for those eligible for booster shots?||No. At this time, people are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine.|
|Where is the best place to get a booster shot?||For those eligible, getting a booster shot is convenient, and as simple as visiting your local pharmacy or doctor’s office or to a TCPH vaccination clinic. If you are unable to get the booster at your original vaccine location, vaccines.gov can make the process easier. This free resource provides accurate and up-to-date information about vaccination services in your area. You can also text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you in the U.S.|
|Is it safe to co-administer COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines, like flu?||Yes. In addition to the flu vaccine, COVID-19 vaccine can be given with other vaccines as well.|
|How effective are the approved vaccines?||The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines report being 95 percent effective. The Novavax vaccine reports being 90 percent effective. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is reported to be 66 percent effective. The effectiveness is a measure provided by the manufacturer two weeks after the final dose is given. Scientific studies do show that the effectiveness drops to some degree as time passes.|
|How do we know these COVID-19 vaccines are safe?||The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a known and proven process for the verification of vaccines, and while these COVID-19 vaccines have been made available quickly, no step in the safety and efficacy process was skipped. The FDA has issued a full authorization for Pfizer, Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, only after enough scientific data was shown to indicate the vaccines safety and efficacy in a clear and compelling manner. The current vaccines, even those with EUAs, continue through a trial phase, where they are tracking their volunteers to learn more about the long-term outcomes of taking the vaccine.|
|Can children under 12 receive the vaccine?||Yes, infant age 6 months and older are eligible to get COVID-19 vaccine.|
|Can the vaccine give you the virus?||No. None of the current vaccines use a live virus, which means they cannot give someone COVID-19. Additionally, recipients of the vaccine are not contagious and cannot spread COVID-19. It is possible for someone to be infected with COVID-19 prior to receiving the vaccine and thus they would be contagious as any other person infected with COVID-19 and could still test positive on a COVID-19 diagnostic PCR, or rapid test. An uninfected vaccine recipient however would not test positive on a PCR or rapid test but could test positive on an antibody-based test.|
|Should I get vaccinated if I already had COVID-19?||Yes. The vaccine is recommended for people who previously have been infected with COVID-19.|
|What will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?||The vaccine is free. Operation Warp Speed, a federal program, is paying all the costs associated with vaccinations.|
|Is getting a COVID-19 vaccine immunization mandatory?||COVID-19 vaccinations are voluntary, but we strongly recommend all eligible persons get the vaccine.|
|How many doses of vaccine will I need?||The vaccines currently available require either a one, two, or three dose series.|
|How long do I have to wait between doses?||
|Does the COVID-19 vaccines require special handling?||Yes, each vaccine has different storage and preparation requirements. Public Health staff are trained to make sure that vaccine is stored and used properly.|
|What will I receive to show that I was vaccinated?||Those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will receive a vaccination card, and will have the immunization noted on their official ImmTrac2 vaccine record.|
|How can I let the CDC know about my side effects?||V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.|
|What is the Tarrant County Public Health call center phone number?||817-248-6299|