Houston Health Department opens COVID-19 call center

An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of what a coronavirus looks like ( Photo Courtesy: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention )

The Houston Health Department opens a COVID-19 call center on Monday to provide information and answer questions about the coronavirus.

Houston residents can call the center at (832)393-4220 to speak to department staff and get their questions answered.

The call center will open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Voice messages left after hours will be returned the following day on a first call, first served basis.

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

The health department says Houston healthcare providers can continue to call 832-393-5080.

“While we are all bombarded with a huge amount of information about COVID-19, some people may find certain details confusing or even worrisome,” said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department. “Our aim is to make sure the public has the facts on how to best protect themselves and allay any fears.”  

The department reported two COVID-19 cases in Houston last week and launched public health investigations to identify potential contacts exposed to the virus.

Ten other presumptive and confirmed cases have been reported across the greater Houston area.

MORE: COVID-19 cases across the greater Houston total 12

While COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus, the health department says daily precautions recommended to prevent respiratory illnesses are the same:

•  Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you can't wash your hands.

•  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

•  Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, use the elbow of your sleeve. Don’t use your hands to cover coughs and sneezes.

•  Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

•  Stay home when you are sick and keep children home when they are sick.

•  Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

•  Get a flu shot. (Although the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it is flu season.)