Patient and visitor safety

Baylor Scott & White Health still requires you to wear a mask

As part of our continued efforts to protect our patients, visitors, staff, and the community, face masks are required in patient rooms, procedural areas when patients are directly receiving care (including transport) and group/open care settings (e.g., dialysis, rehab gym, infusion centers, etc.).

There may be some locations where face masks are strongly encouraged such as entrances, registration desks, nursing stations, waiting rooms, hallways and cafeterias.

Limited exceptions include:

  • Children under the age of two
  • Anyone with a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask
  • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or unable to remove the mask without assistance

Patients who have or are suspected to have COVID-19 should continue wearing surgical masks provided by our facility.

Hospital visitors with an unapproved mask will be given an approved mask to wear while visiting. Unapproved masks include (but are not limited to) bandanas, masks with valves and neck gaiters.

Patient and visitor screening

Patients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at registration. Patients who experience any symptoms will be expedited to a designated area.

Visitors will be asked to self-screen for the following COVID-19 symptoms upon entry:

  • Fever (100˚F or higher)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness
  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of smell
  • Chills
  • Loss of taste
  • New severe headache

Visitors with any COVID-19 symptoms will be instructed to not enter the facility unless they are seeking medical care.

Updated visitation policy

Patients receiving care for conditions other than COVID-19 may have visitors of any age. Visitors must follow all visitation guidelines for the facility. We ask visitors to be limited to those essential for the patient’s physical or emotional well-being and care (e.g., care partner, parent). We continue to encourage the use of other methods of visiting patients, such as video calls through cell phones or tablets.

COVID-19/patient under investigation (“PUI”) patients

One visitor per day for one hour (or less as determined by facility) is allowed. The visitor must wear appropriate protective equipment provided by the facility, sign a waiver and follow all staff instructions. More than one visitor may be allowed in certain circumstances as determined by facility leadership.

We ask visitors of a COVID-19 patient/PUI to not visit public areas of the facilities, such as the cafeteria and leave the hospital immediately after the visit is over. Please note the patient’s physician has the right to temporarily prohibit visitation of a COVID-19 patient, if the physician believes a visit may lead to the transmission of an infectious agent that poses a serious community health risk.

Please note that one religious/spiritual counselor is welcome in addition to a patient’s one visitor but must also follow all visitor requirements.

Thank you for your understanding and support in helping to keep our patients, caregivers and visitors safe.

Exceptions to our one-visitor policy

Facilities may grant limited exceptions to the one visitor rule for situations such as end-of-life care, etc.

Updates to your care

As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together, we are developing new protocols with your safety and convenience in mind. We have made updates to our billing policies during this time and continue to offer financial assistance to those with financial hardships. Please read below to see how these enhancements may affect you.

COVID-19 testing recommendations

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19, per the CDC. It is important to keep in mind:

  • Most people have mild symptoms and are able to recover at home
  • There is no treatment specifically approved for this virus

Healthcare providers are working to conserve testing capabilities for those at highest risk.

As recommended by the CDC, it is important for those treating mild symptoms at home to be watchful for the development of emergency warning signs of secondary conditions related to COVID-19 and to get medical attention immediately for any symptoms that are severe or concerning.

As always, in the event of a medical emergency, please call 911 or report to the nearest emergency department.

Financial assistance

We understand you may be experiencing financial hardship at this time due to business closures and shelter in place orders. We are here to help you.

Discover assistance options

Keeping Texans healthy at home with virtual care

You can receive the same quality, convenient care from a Baylor Scott & White doctor during a video visit or eVisit

Discover virtual care options

The ABCs of COVID-19

Helping children understand new rules or changes in their lives can be a challenge, especially when you are experiencing disruption in your own routine due to COVID-19. That's why we created The ABCs of COVID-19, a children's book to help you explain what is happening in an age-appropriate way.

Make a donation toward our COVID-19 efforts

We are committed to delivering high-quality care throughout this health crisis, and your support can make an impact.

Discover ways to give

Frequently asked questions

For comprehensive FAQs, visit the CDC website. En español, aquí.

Coronavirus disease 2019 basics

  • What is novel coronavirus?

    A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild symptoms, like the common cold.

  • Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19?

    COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.

How it spreads

  • How does the virus spread?

    The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through 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. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

    COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community ("community spread") in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

  • Can COVID-19 be spread through food (including take out, refrigerated or frozen packaged food)?

    Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day use a tissue to cover your coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

How to protect yourself

  • How do you prevent the spread of COVID-19?
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your face — eyes, nose and mouth — with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home as much as possible. Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • Monitor your health daily. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Stay informed and regularly check the CDC’s COVID-19 Situation Summary.
  • Is it okay for me to donate blood?

    In healthcare settings all across the United States, donated blood is a lifesaving, essential part of caring for patients. The need for donated blood is constant, and blood centers are open and in urgent need of donations. CDC encourages people who are well to continue to donate blood if they are able, even if they are practicing social distancing because of COVID-19. CDC is supporting blood centers by providing recommendations that will keep donors and staff safe. Examples of these recommendations include spacing donor chairs 6 feet apart, thoroughly adhering to environmental cleaning practices, and encouraging donors to make donation appointments ahead of time.

Symptoms and testing

  • What are the symptoms and complications COVID-19 can cause?

    People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • New severe headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.

    Read about COVID-19 symptoms

  • Should I be tested for COVID-19?

    Maybe; not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.

    If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first.

    You can also visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.

    As always, in the event of a medical emergency, please call 911 or report to the nearest emergency department.

  • How much does the COVID-19 test cost?

    BSWH continues to look for ways to make COVID-19 treatment more affordable for patients. Our COVID-19 lab tests are currently priced at $90.00, but we are partnering with insurance providers to ensure that covered patients who are given a COVID-19 lab test at a BSWH facility will not owe any money out-of-pocket for their test (e.g., copays, coinsurance or deductibles).

    For uninsured patients, BSWH is also taking steps to waive the out-of-pocket costs associated with the COVID-19 lab test during this emergency period.

    Additional services provided during a patient’s COVID-19 treatment may result in other out-of-pocket costs.

What to do if you are sick

  • Is Baylor Scott & White administering the Merck COVID-19 pill?

    On November 30, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Merck’s COVID-19 pill.

    At this time, supply is extremely limited and will not be available until early December. We are working with the state to identify possible allocation sites. More information will be provided as we learn more.

  • What should I do if I get sick or someone in my house gets sick?
    • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
    • Use a separate room and bathroom for sick household members (if possible).
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Provide your sick household member with clean disposable facemasks to wear at home, if available, to help prevent spreading COVID-19 to others.
    • Clean the sick room and bathroom, as needed, to avoid unnecessary contact with the sick person.

    However, some people may need emergency medical attention. Watch for symptoms and learn when to seek emergency medical attention.

  • Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID19?

    We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. Until we learn more about this new coronavirus, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would with people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including:

    • Petting
    • Snuggling
    • Being kissed or licked
    • Sharing food or bedding

    If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a cloth face covering.

Source: Accessed January 6, 2021, 930 CST.