Coronavirus FAQ

COVID-19/Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

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Read more about the risk of COVID-19 in the Austin area:  http://www.austintexas.gov/COVID19

DSHS COVID-19 Call Center:
1-877-570-9779
Hours:
7:00am – 6:00pm, Monday – Friday
DSHS 24/7 Line: (888) 963-7111
Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

How to contact your Local Health Department
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID) Local Health Entities

CDC Updates
CDC News Releases and Health Alert Network (HAN)

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I worry that I might have Covid-19?

The symptoms include cough, fever, and shortness of breath. The people at highest risk are those who have recently travelled to areas with a high incidence of Covid-19, such as China, Italy, South Korea, Japan, and Iran. Another obvious risk factor is recent exposure to somebody diagnosed with Covid-19. But as the infection spreads in Austin, there is a chance that even people without these risk factors might be infected. At this point, there have been no documented cases of Covid-19 in Austin, but that may be in part because testing has been limited.

If I recently travelled to China, Italy, South Korea, Japan, or Iran, and have symptoms of a respiratory infection, should I come to Capital Medical Clinic to be tested? If was recently exposed to somebody with Covid-19, should I come to the clinic to be tested?

No. Since there is no effective treatment for Covid-19, you will have nothing to gain by coming to Capital Medical Clinic. You will only be exposing health care workers and other patients to the virus, thus increasing its spread.

But won’t you be able to test me?

We are offering testing for our patients, after they are assess by one of our providers by telemedicine and determined to meet the criteria for COVID testing.  Supply is limited.  If you have symptoms, schedule a telemedicine visit with your provider today.

So what should I do if I think it’s likely I have Covid-19?

It depends on how severe your symptoms are. If you feel very ill, you should go the emergency room where you can receive supportive care like IV fluids and oxygen. But if your symptoms are mild, you should stay at home and monitor your them. That way you can avoid spreading it other people while your immune system fights off the infection.

But what if I have respiratory infection symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, or fever, but haven’t recently travelled out of the country or been exposed to somebody with Covid-19? What should I do then?

There could be a variety of other causes for your symptoms such as flu, the common cold, bacterial pneumonia, or allergies. If your symptoms are very mild, you should stay home to see if they’ll resolve on their own. On the other hand, if you feel very sick—for instance if you have great difficulty breathing–you should go to the emergency room. If you are somewhere in between and unsure what to do, call Capital Medical Clinic, and we’ll guide you on the best course of action.

What is Capital Medical Clinic doing to prevent patients at the clinic from being infected?

We are taking a number of steps to protect our patients and staff. We are directing patients with a high suspicion of having Covid-19 to more appropriate locations for care such as their home or the emergency room. We are taking special precautions in interacting with anybody with symptoms of a respiratory infection. All such patients will be required to wear a mask and all staff interacting with them will be wearing a mask as well. After each patient visit, surfaces in clinic rooms are being thoroughly cleaned with germ-killing wipes. All staff with any symptoms of a respiratory infection, including physicians, are not coming to the clinic until their symptoms are gone.

What is coronavirus/COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new variant of a common family of viruses called coronaviruses. These viruses typically cause respiratory tract infections ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Though most commonly found in animals like cattle, cats and bats, some coronaviruses can infect and spread between humans, such as COVID-19 and SARS.

 How is it transmitted?

Just like the flu, the coronavirus is spread through coughing, sneezing and close personal contact with other people.

 What are the symptoms?

Symptoms related to COVID-19 coronavirus infection range from mild to severe respiratory symptoms. Most patients have fever, cough and body aches. In more severe infections, symptoms may include shortness of breath and/or pneumonia. Symptoms typically appear between two and 14 days after exposure to an infected person.

 Am I at risk?

The risk to you remains very low. Those at highest risk have recently travelled to countries including China and South Korea, followed by Iran, Italy and Japan. People who have had close personal contact with travelers to these countries who now exhibit respiratory symptoms are also at a higher risk. At this point, you are at far greater risk of contracting the flu (get your flu shot today; it is not too late), which in 2018-2019 led to 34,000 deaths in the U.S.

 How can I prepare? 

The COVID-19 coronavirus risk should be managed like other potential disruptions to your daily activities: prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Make sure you have at least a two-week supply of critical medications and supplies necessary for good hygiene.

 What treatments are available?

There are currently no medications or vaccines approved for the treatment of COVID-19. A National Institute of Health (NIH) randomized and controlled clinical trial of a medication for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but is not available to the public. In the absence of a vaccine or medication, good hygiene practices remain the primary method to address wide-spread transmission and supportive care remains the only medical treatment.

 How can I protect myself?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend avoiding travel to China and practicing good hygiene in the same way you would protect yourself against the flu:

  • 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 and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 

How will this affect my travel?

CDC provides recommendations on postponing or canceling travel. These are called travel notices and are based on assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area. A list of destinations with travel notices is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Discuss travel to China with your healthcare provider. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.
  • Avoid animals (live or dead), animal markets and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating, as well as after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.