Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in responding to the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) that is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness worldwide.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Get the latest information on vaccines in development and the distribution across Texas.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information National Vaccine Finder

COVID-19 Omicron Variant

DSHS has updated the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the variants of COVID-19 to include information about the Omicron variant.
COVID-19 Variant FAQs Variants Data

COVID-19 Therapeutics

Therapeutic antibody treatments play an important role in the state's ongoing fight against COVID-19. Healthcare systems, nursing homes, and long term care facilities are encouraged to use these tools to reduce hospitalizations.

Updated Health Recommendations

DSHS has revised the health recommendations for all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, as well as those for child care centers and youth camps.

Browse this site for what to do if you're sick, testing information, symptoms, prevention tips, how to learn more, and information on scams and fraud.

Hospitals, healthcare professionals, local public health, community leaders, and others can find resources throughout this website to help them in their response to COVID‑19.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available. Check back often for the latest details and what Texans need to know about COVID‑19.

See also the CDC website for the latest developments on COVID‑19:
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CDC)

How COVID-19 Spreads

Current understanding about how the virus that causes COVID‑19 spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • 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.
  • COVID‑19 may be spread by people who are not showing any symptoms.

The virus may also be spread through surfaces:

  • By a person touching a surface or object that has virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
  • This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.

Download the Stop the Spread of Germs flyer.

Read the latest information from the CDC on how COVID‑19 spreads.

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Prevention of COVID-19

Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect people and communities from COVID-19. Since COVID-19 vaccination began, most Texas COVID-19 deaths are among people not fully vaccinated.

You are fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of a two-dose vaccine. Or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

Like any vaccine, COVID-19 vaccines do not stop 100% of cases. But fully vaccinated people are less likely to be infected. They are also better protected from severe illness, hospitalization and death.

Masks Protect Everyone. CDC recently updated its mask guidance for fully vaccinated people and when they should get tested.

Wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of your vaccination status, can help protect you and everyone close to you. State and CDC mask recommendations are available for schools, public transportation, and healthcare settings.

Some businesses may have mask preferences for their employees and customers.

Take the precautions below to protect yourself and others from infection and illness.

  • hand washing icon
    Wash hands with soap and water.
  • face covering icon
    Wear a face covering.
  • cough icon
    Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • eye touching icon
    Avoid touching face.
  • disinfect icon
    Disinfect often touched surfaces.
  • close contact icon
    Stay 6 feet apart.

Hand-Washing Video (YouTube)
Hand Sanitizer Video (YouTube)

Third-party videos may not have closed captioning. Alternatively, you can download or print the DSHS Hand-Washing flyer: English | Spanish

DSHS recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus, including COVID‑19:

  • Consider wearing a mask. Vaccinated or not, wearing a mask in indoor public spaces can help protect you and everyone close to you.
  • Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched often.
  • Stay six feet apart from others.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

DSHS recommends that you practice social distancing. Social distancing involves staying away from other people to avoid catching or spreading illness. It's a fancy term for avoiding crowds and minimizing physical contact. This could mean avoiding concerts or weddings, skipping the handshake, and/or staying at least six feet away from others.

See also the CDC website for more information on what you can do at home to prevent the spread of COVID‑19:
Get Your Home Ready (CDC) Running Essential Errands (CDC)
Prevent Getting Sick (CDC) Social Distancing (CDC) Quarantine (CDC) Isolation (CDC)

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Symptoms of COVID-19

Patients with COVID‑19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

Fever icon


cough icon


short breath icon

Shortness of Breath

Other symptoms reported with COVID-19 include:

  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Learn more about COVID‑19 symptoms on the CDC website.

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COVID-19 Testing

Your doctor will help make the decision if you should get tested for COVID‑19.

If you do not have health insurance, you can still get tested for COVID‑19 if your doctor or healthcare provider recommends it.

For information about testing, you just need to call your doctor and/or access care the way you usually do. If you need help finding a doctor or accessing medical care, call 2‑1‑1 and they can direct you to low- or no-cost providers in your area.

People can get tested for COVID‑19 at public testing sites or drive‑thru locations in certain parts of Texas.

For an explanation of the different types of tests for COVID-19, see COVID-19 Testing Explained (PDF, V.4.0, updated 9/07/2021).

To learn more about types of testing, see also the CDC website:

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What to Do If You Are Sick

Symptoms of COVID‑19 may show up 2‑14 days after exposure. The steps you should take if you think you are sick with COVID‑19 depend on whether you have a higher risk of developing severe illness.

High-Risk Individuals:

General Population:

  • If you are in generally good health and have mild symptoms, stay home and take care of yourself like you would for a cold or the flu.
  • If symptoms worsen, call your doctor.

If you are sick or are caring for someone who is sick, you can use CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.

If you need help finding a doctor or accessing medical care, call 2‑1‑1 and they can direct you to low- or no-cost providers in your area.

See the CDC website for more information on how to take care of yourself and others at home if sick:

Information on disinfecting your home and vehicle and disposing of contaminated waste if someone is sick can also be found on the CDC and TCEQ websites:
Disinfecting Your Home (CDC) Disinfecting Non-Emergency Transport Vehicles (CDC)
Disposal of COVID-19 Contaminated Waste (TCEQ)

See also the CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes.


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Learn More

For more in-depth information on COVID‑19, see the CDC's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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Scams & Fraud

Criminals are impersonating Texas government agencies to scam people and organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, common scams include unsolicited purchase orders and requests, spoofed emails and phishing attempts, and government impersonation phone scams. Visit the Texas Comptroller Fraud Alerts website to know how to spot and report scams.

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Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like more information about COVID-19, contact us by email or by phone:

Phone:* Dial 2‑1‑1, then choose Option 6.


  • Monday–Friday, 8:00am–5:00pm CST
  • Saturday, 8:00am–1:00pm CST

*If you experience difficulty when dialing 2-1-1, please email

For local assistance, see the listing of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‑19) Local Health Entities.

For other local resources and assistance in your community, visit the website.

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This page is being updated as new information becomes available.

Last updated January 4, 2022