Read more about the risk of COVID-19 in the Austin area: http://www.austintexas.gov/COVID19
DSHS COVID-19 Call Center:
7:00am – 6:00pm, Monday – Friday
DSHS 24/7 Line: (888) 963-7111
How to contact your Local Health Department
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID) Local Health Entities
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 won’t you be able to test me?
We are offering testing for our patients, after they are assessed by one of our providers by telemedicine and determined to meet the criteria for COVID testing. If you have symptoms, schedule a telemedicine visit with your provider today. Below are the COVID Test we are offering to our patients:
Molecular test (AKA: PCR, Antigen): This test is done through a nasal or oral swab and looks for the presence of the virus in your body. It tells us if you’re infected with COVID-19.
Antibody/serology test: This test checks to see if your immune system has produced an antibody to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
We want to make sure that our patients are aware of the limitations of antibody testing, which include the following:
- Antibody tests are not used to make a diagnosis of active COVID-19, since antibody production is not present at detectable levels until several days after the onset of infection symptoms.
- At this point, there is no evidence to show that a positive antibody test means you are immune or protected from being infected with COVID-19.
- Antibody tests are not perfectly specific to COVID-19. This means a positive antibody result could be from a previous infection by another coronavirus besides SARS-CoV-2. As scientists and physicians gain a better understanding of how our immune system responds to COVID-19, antibody testing holds the potential to be a very useful tool in responding to COVID-19.
If you are interested in antibody testing, make an in-office or telemedicine appointment with your doctor to discuss if it’s the right choice for you and your situation.
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.
Here are some steps you can take to stay healthy:
Fill your plate with a colorful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. These are low calorie foods filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Avoid red and processed meat. Eat a greater amount of protein-rich foods such as seafood, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, nuts and seeds, and lean meats such as poultry. Decrease your intake of sugar and other refined carbohydrates such as flour, pizza dough, pastries, and white rice. Eating this way will increase your energy and lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise every day. This will increase your energy, help you manage stress, improve your sleep, and lower your risk of developing heart disease, dementia, and mood disorders. Although gyms are closed, you can walk or jog in your neighborhood or one of Austin’s beautiful trails. If you don’t have your own exercise bike or treadmill, there are a number of online workouts that can serve as your guide. It’s also important to keep your strength as you age. Here is a link to some strengthening exercises you can do at home without weights. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/30-day-strength-training-routine-no-equipment-required-ncna988936
Prioritize your relationships with friends and family
In our fast-paced world in which there is always more to do, it is easy to neglect spending time with our loved ones. But a wealth of scientific research shows that people are most fulfilled when they are engaged in deep, nurturing relationships. Conversely, chronic loneliness has toxic health effects. Of course, social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 makes it challenging to connect with others. If you live with other people, be intentional about gathering to have fun. Puzzles, games, gardening, and enjoying movies or music together are great ways to connect. Make it a priority to talk on the phone or through video with a friend every day.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep every night is crucial for your immune system to work at its best so it can defeat infections such as COVID-19. Sleep will also enable you to better cope with the stress COVID-19 is bringing to all our lives.
Help other people
Caring for people in worse situations than yours can put your problems into perspective and promote gratitude for what you have. Knowing you’ve made a positive impact in somebody else’s life can also increase self-esteem.
Keep a gratitude journal
At the end of the day, write down what you are grateful for.
Research suggests practicing meditation may improve high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and insomnia—issues we’re at increased risk for with the stress of COVID-19. During meditation, you focus your attention and set aside the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be causing stress. One simple form of meditation is focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale. As thoughts inevitably enter your consciousness, gently turn your attention back to your breath. To get started, there are several helpful apps including Headspace, 10% Happier, Insight Timer, and Calm.
Smoking markedly increases your risk of coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancers of the oropharynx, lung, and bladder. Smoking also increases the numbers of cells with your lungs with the receptor for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Maintain your health partnership with your doctor
Keep your previously scheduled appointments with your physician. While staying at home because of COVID-19, you can meet with your doctor through a telemedicine appointment. Through a video connection with your phone or computer, you can work with you doctor to ensure your health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, depression, and anxiety are optimally controlled. Your doctor will ensure you are up to date on health maintenance measures such as vaccines and cancer screening. You can also address acute concerns such as respiratory symptoms or your questions about COVID-19. To schedule an appointment with your physician, call 512-454-5171. You can request your previously scheduled appointment be turned into a telemedicine visit.