COVID-19 Updates and Resource Page
Friday, March 6, 2020
Posted by: Erin Cusack
As the world continues to respond to the developing Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak, officials in Texas are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in monitoring the outbreak as well as taking steps to protect our communities and public health.
TNP is actively participating in state events dedicated to keeping state and local agencies and private sector partners up-to-date and coordinated on the latest guidance related to the outbreak. To that end, this week, TNP began participating in conference calls and planning meetings led by officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
Below is some key guidance and information from officials:
- Remain vigilant and monitor the situation
- Preventing and mitigating spread is everyone’s responsibility
- Work closely with your local health department, and if you suspect COVID-19 in your differential diagnoses, they can provide guidance on testing
- Review your infection control strategies
- Practice and encourage a personal regimen of washing hands, coughing into the crook of your elbow, disinfecting surfaces and staying home when you feel sick
Regulatory Updates & Waivers
In the past few days, there have been a number of announcements regarding waivers, regulatory changes, and other policies related to COVID-19 that directly impact NPs and other providers. n response to Governor Abbott's state disaster declaration, the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) and the Texas Medical Board (TMB) have announced that they will be fast-tracking licensure, permitting phone-only consults for telemedicine, and waiving the requirement for written prescriptive authority agreements for APRNs.
To make sure you have the latest information at your fingertips, TNP is keeping a running list of these changes on our website here.
This page will connect NPs to information and resources regarding COVID-19 from DSHS, the CDC, and Texas regulatory agencies.
Texas Coronavirus Website, Information for Hospitals and Healthcare Professionals
DSHS is the main state website dedicated to providing the most up-to-date information about COVID-19: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/healthprof.aspx
DSHS has added a communication tools section to their website with a social media tool kit, video and printable materials that are shareable: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/tools.aspx#toolkit
For questions about COVID‑19, dial 2‑1‑1, then choose Option 6.
Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., 7 days per week
If you experience difficulty when dialing 2-1-1, please email email@example.com.
Local Health Entities
For local assistance, see the listing of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‑19) Local Health Entities.
CDC Coronavirus Website
Take care to wipe down all surfaces with products that have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use against emerging, enveloped viral pathogens. This is a critical step in keeping you and your facility protected. A list of appropriate cleaning products is being kept by the Center for Biocide Chemistries, which can be found at https://www.americanchemistry.com/novel-coronavirus-fighting-products-list.pdf
Notice Regarding Testing and Submission of Specimens for COVID-19
As of March 5, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory is accepting specimens per the criteria outlined in the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions found on the DSHS Laboratory website.
ALL specimens for COVID-19 virus testing require preapproval. Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region to ensure patient meets Person Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet PUI criteria for testing prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval. Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.
The Texas Board of Nursing is not soliciting volunteers. RNs/APRNs wishing to volunteer may contact the following organizations below to inquire about volunteer needs.