For Dallas County Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Information, please click the links below:
COVID-19 Main Site   |    COVID-19 Vaccine   |    Reopenings and Operational Updates    |    Cares Act Funding
Emergency Housing Assistance Program - 2021 (EHAP-2021)

FAQs for Patients & Families

Dallas County Health and Human Services - 2377 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207
Telephone: 214-819-2000

Information for Patients and Families

Sub Title



What is Coronavirus / COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus first identified in 2019. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are several known coronaviruses that infect people and usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold.

How does the virus spread?

The virus that causes COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet, or 2 arm lengths). t spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Droplets can also land on surfaces and objects and be transferred by touch. A person may get COVID-19 by touching the surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes, but it is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. It is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.

For more information about how the virus spreads, see the CDC's FAQ.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Additional symptoms include headache, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, new loss or taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. This is not a comprehensive list. Please visit the CDC for more information on symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs may include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face. (This list is not all the possible symptoms, so consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.)

Who is at risk for having severe disease related to COVID-19?

Most people who contract COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms; however, there are groups of people who need to take extra precautionsPeople at higher risk for severe illness include: older adults; people at any age with chronic conditions, including cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease); heart conditions; weakened immune system from a solid organ transplant; obesity or severe obesity; pregnancy; sickle cell disease; smoking; Type 2 diabetes. Other populations that need to take extra precautions include: people experiencing homelessness; people with disabilities; and possibly people with the following health conditions: asthma, cerebrovascular disease, cystic fibrosis, high blood pressure, weakened immune system (from a blood or bone marrow transplant, HIV, immune deficiencies, use of corticosteroids or other immune weakening medicines), neurologic conditions such as dementia, liver disease, overweight, pulmonary fibrosis, Thalassemia, Type 1 diabetes.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

  • People with COVID-19 may receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorization of potential treatments. A summary of these treatments can be found here
  • Information on Convalescent Plasma (Texas Medical Association)

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

  • If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider or visit a drive-thru testing location or other testing location. If your symptoms are mild, you can:
    • Visit the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker to answer questions about your symptoms and receive guidance to help you make a decision on whether or not to seek medical care. 
    • Call 2-1-1 for general public inquiries about COVID-19 resources.
  • Individuals who have been identified by public health as high risk for COVID-19 will be given specific recommendations to seek care for testing for COVID-19, if needed.

What should you do if you have symptoms for COVID-19?

What should you do if you test positive for COVID-19?

Are you a parent or guardian?

Parents and guardians, please see the the following:  Guidance for Parents and Guardians: What to do when you or your child is sick with COVID-19

Daily Life and Basic Habits

The CDC has posted the following helpful resources for households:

Protect yourself from COVID-19: 

  • Wear a mask over your mouth and nose.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people, even when you are wearing a mask.
  • 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.

Useful Resources:

What is the coronavirus disease or COVID-19? 

How does the virus spread?

The virus that causes COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet, or 2 arm lengths). t spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Droplets can also land on surfaces and objects and be transferred by touch. A person may get COVID-19 by touching the surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes, but it is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. It is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.

For more information about how the virus spreads, see the CDC's FAQ.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Additional symptoms include headache, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, new loss or taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. This is not a comprehensive list. Please visit the CDC for more information on symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs may include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face. (This list is not all the possible symptoms, so consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.)

Who is at risk for having severe disease related to COVID-19?

Most people who contract COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms; however, there are groups of people who need to take extra precautionsPeople at higher risk for severe illness include: older adults; people at any age with chronic conditions, including cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease); heart conditions; weakened immune system from a solid organ transplant; obesity or severe obesity; pregnancy; sickle cell disease; smoking; Type 2 diabetes. Other populations that need to take extra precautions include: people experiencing homelessness; people with disabilities; and possibly people with the following health conditions: asthma, cerebrovascular disease, cystic fibrosis, high blood pressure, weakened immune system (from a blood or bone marrow transplant, HIV, immune deficiencies, use of corticosteroids or other immune weakening medicines), neurologic conditions such as dementia, liver disease, overweight, pulmonary fibrosis, Thalassemia, Type 1 diabetes.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

  • People with COVID-19 may receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorization of potential treatments. A summary of these treatments can be found here
  • Information on Convalescent Plasma (Texas Medical Association)

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

  • If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider or visit a drive-thru testing location or other testing location. If your symptoms are mild, you can:
    • Visit the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker to answer questions about your symptoms and receive guidance to help you make a decision on whether or not to seek medical care. 
    • Call 2-1-1 for general public inquiries about COVID-19 resources.
  • Individuals who have been identified by public health as high risk for COVID-19 will be given specific recommendations to seek care for testing for COVID-19, if needed.

What if I am experiencing flu-like symptoms and am worried I might have COVID-19?

  • If you think you were exposed to COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should contact a healthcare provider or visit a drive-thru testing location or other testing location to be screened for COVID-19 testing.
    • Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency roomcall ahead and tell them about your symptoms.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth face covering BEFORE you enter the healthcare facility for medical evaluation.
  • Follow the CDC's recommendations for what to do if you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19.

Useful Resources:

What should you do if you test positive for COVID-19?

What should you do if you have symptoms for COVID-19?

Are you a parent or guardian?

Parents and guardians, please see the the following:  Guidance for Parents and Guardians: What to do when you or your child is sick with COVID-19

Daily Life and Basic Habits

The CDC has posted the following helpful resources for households:

Protect yourself from COVID-19: 

  • Wear a mask over your mouth and nose.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people, even when you are wearing a mask.
  • 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.

Additional Resources:

Dallas County Health and Human Services recommends individuals and families follow everyday preventative measures, otherwise known as non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI), as the frontline of defense against COVID-19 and other seasonal respiratory viruses:

  • Wear A Mask
  • Stay at least 6" away from others
  • Voluntary Home Isolation: Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. Follow CDC guidelines for what to do if you are sick
  • Respiratory Etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.
  • Hand Hygiene: Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
  • Environmental Health Action: Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects

Routine use of these measures by individuals and their families will increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak. Additionally, CDC is also recommending the following:

  • Use of masks to keep people who are infected but do not have symptoms from spreading COVID-19 to others
    • The mask covering your nose and mouth protects other people in case you get sick.
    • The mask should not be used as a substitute for social distancing; use both.
  • People 65 years and older and people with severe underlying medical conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
  • People who get a fever or cough should consider whether they might have COVID-19, depending on where they live, their travel history or other exposures. All of the U.S. is seeing community spread of COVID-19.There is no treatment for this virus. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care.
  • Testing for COVID-19 may be accessed through your medical provider, one of Dallas County's drive-thru testing locations or Dallas County Health and Human Services (your medical provider must contact the health department to request testing). You can also view a map of all testing locations throughout Texas.
  • American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their families who have been in one of the countries with travel restrictions for entering the U.S. in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the United States but will be redirected to one of 13 airports. If you are returning from one of these countries, you should stay home and monitor your health. All other international travelers please follow CDC instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.