General Information

COVID-19 and How It's Spread

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The virus is thought to spread mainly 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. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses from the  CDC website transmission page.


Patients with COVID‑19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

At this time, CDC believes that symptoms of COVID‑19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS coronaviruses.

Reducing the Risk

Stay educated on the disease by reading the CDC  website. Take care of yourself by doing the following:

  • Wash your 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 available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

A summary of the CDC’s guidelines follows:

Wear disposable gloves (e.g. nitrile or latex) when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Disposable gloves are single-use and should be discarded after each cleaning. If disposable gloves are not available, and reusable gloves (e.g. dishwashing gloves) are used instead, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection of products used. Wash hands with soap and water immediately after gloves are removed.

If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Focus on disinfecting other commonly touched surfaces such as keyboards/mouse, touchscreens, furniture (e.g. desk chair arms), coffee pot and refrigerator handles, etc.

For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3 rd cup) bleach per gallon of water, or
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water, or
  • 1-part bleach with 9 parts water

A list of products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims, maintained by the American Chemistry Council Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC), is available on the  Novel Coronavirus Fighting Products list. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV2. based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.)

For porous surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

  • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely, or
  • Use products with the  EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims that are suitable for porous surfaces.


General COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

According to the CDC, self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If you feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, you should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider. TAMU students may call (956) 326-2235. For after-hours contact/inquiries, call the City of Laredo Health Department COVID-19 24-Hour Hotline at (956) 795-4954.

To download the CDC Check and Report Every Day (CARE) Booklet which helps you understand how to self-monitor your health and how to check your symptoms daily visit:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/COVID-19_CAREKit_ENG.pdf

If you are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 and are asked to self-isolate after returning from a country listed on the CDC’s COVID-19 travel advisories page as Level 3, you should stay off campus and remain home.

Do not go to campus including work, residence halls and apartments, classes, athletic events or other social gatherings until 14 days after leaving the Level 3 country in question. Likewise, avoid public places and gatherings in the community.

Please follow these guidelines for self-isolation:

Report any symptoms of COVID-19 immediately to your medical provider – preferably by calling to get advice and instructions. TAMIU students may call (956) 458-8300. For after-hours contact/inquiries, contact the City of Laredo, COVID-19 24-Hour Hotline at (956) 795-4954.

Stay in your room or apartment. Do not go to work, classes, athletic events, or other social or religious gatherings until 14 days after leaving the Level 3 country.

Limit contact as much as possible. This also means limiting close contact with others including persons living in your residence.

Wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs after coughing or sneezing or throwing a used tissue in the garbage.

Avoid sharing household items. Do not share drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding, or any other items until you are no longer asked to self-isolate.

Keep your surroundings clean. While the virus is not spread very well from contact with soiled household surfaces, try to clean surfaces that you share with others, such as door knobs, telephones, and bathroom surfaces (or any other object that you sneeze or cough on), with a standard household disinfectant wipe. Wash your hands after cleaning the area.

Monitor yourself for symptoms at least daily including measuring your temperature. Any symptoms of COVID-19 should be reported to your physician. To download the CDC Check and Report Every Day (CARE) Booklet which helps you understand how to self-monitor your health and how to check your symptoms daily visit:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/COVID-19_CAREKit_ENG.pdf

Cover coughs and sneezes with your upper sleeve or a tissue. Never cough in the direction of someone else.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been recorded in Laredo, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The Centers for Disease control posts reports of confirmed cases regularly.

For specific information about pets and COVID-19, visit the COVID-19 and Animals section of the  CDC COVID-19 FAQ

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