How can I avoid infection with 2019-nCoV?

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more information on the Coronavirus, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services.

To view MedStar’s Medical Directive from our Medical Director, click here.

MedStar Coronavirus Activities

ABC 8’s Lauren Zakalik explains MedStar’s preparations for Coronavirus.  Click here to view the story.

CBS 11’s Jack Fink covers the healthcare system’s Coronavirus preparations, including MedStar.  Click here to view the story.

NBC 5’s Lili Zheng reports on MedStar’s activities preparing for the Coronavirus.  Click here to view the story.

MedStar has been in continual contact and coordination with our local medical control authority and hospital partners, as well as regional, state and national health officials, as recently as this morning.

We are beginning additional dispatch and on-scene patient screening for any 911 calls in which the patient has a respiratory ailment.

The additional screening includes questions regarding the patient’s recent history of travel to areas where the corona virus has been suspected or close contact with people from effected areas who are symptomatic for a respiratory infection.

We are also undertaking special ambulance preparations –

  • Speed packaging personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for field staff
    • Including gowns, high efficiency face masks with splash guards, hoods and of course, gloves
  • We will also be placing surgical masks on patients with respiratory illnesses to help prevent droplet contamination

Transmission Prevention –

  • Similar to FLU prevention precautions
    • Frequent hand washing, avoiding respiratory exposure, and if you are sick, STAY HOME


The following Medical Directive was recently issued by Dr. Veer Vithalani, MedStar’s Medical Director:

For patients with symptoms of respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty-breathing, fever)

Patient Identification:

Patients with both Clinical Features and Epidemiologic Risk:

  • Fever AND/OR Symptoms of lower respiratory illness, e.g., cough, shortness of breath; AND
  • In the last 14-days before symptoms onset, have:
    • History of travel from Wuhan City, China,
    • OR, Close contact with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCoV while that person was ill
      • Close contact is defined as:
        • being within approximately 6-feet, or within the room or care area for a prolonged time, of a 2019-nCoV patient while not wearing appropriate PPE
        • caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a 2019-nCoV patient
        • having direct contact with infectious secretions of a 2019-nCoV case (e.g., being coughed on) while not wearing recommended PPE
      • OR, close contact with an ill confirmed 2019-nCoV patient
    • Remember that fever may not be present in some patients, such as those who are very young, elderly, immunosuppressed, or taking certain fever-lowering medications.
    • For patients identified through the 911 call-taking process, begin with Isolation instructions while confirming screening questions