Austin Regional Clinic

Austin Regional Clinic

Austin Regional Clinic

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) FAQs

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) FAQs

Last Updated 3/5/2021

24/7 COVID-19 Hotline: 866-453-4525

Remember ARC offers 24/7 connected care with Same-Day appointments in the day time, night time, weekends, and holidays as well as 24/7 phone nurses. Request a Same-Day visit at ARCappointments.com or call your clinic and press "1" for an appointment.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update 3/5/2021 ARC will continue the mandatory masking practices in our clinics for all of our doctors, staff, employees and patients.

All COVID-19 vaccine appointments for Friday 3/5 and Saturday 3/6 are filled. We continue to encourage patients and community members to schedule at other entities receiving state-supplied vaccine. If we receive additional vaccine, we will update this page and send notifications to eligible patients.  Thank you for your understanding. Visit Austin Public Health (APH) and Texas DSHS for more information.
  • Dose 1 at ARC: There are no more vaccine appointments left. If we receive additional vaccine in the future, we will notify prioritized patients by email, text, or call to schedule an appointment. ARC’s electronic medical record (EMR) system prioritizes patients by age and health risk.
  • Dose 2 at ARC: We continue to schedule patients for their second dose if they received their first dose at ARC.
  • Vaccination at Other Facilities: Individuals who received their first dose elsewhere must return to that facility for their second dose.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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COVID-19 Vaccine | Diagnosis & TestingAntibody TestingInsurance & CostPatient SafetyResearch StudyRisk FactorsSymptomsWhen to Seek CareTreatmentPreventionReturning to WorkSocial Distancing 


COVID-19 Vaccine

    • Is the COVID-19 vaccine available at ARC?

      There is no more vaccine available for dose 1 vaccinations at ARC, except for a few appointments already scheduled. As of January 12, ARC received and distributed approximately 8,000 first doses of the vaccine to health care workers, first responders, individuals over 65 years of age and adults with comorbid conditions. Appointments for the second dose of the vaccine have been scheduled and we expect to receive supplies in time to vaccinate everyone who received a first dose. 

    • How do I know where to get my second dose of vaccine?

      If you received dose 1 at an ARC facility, you can book dose 2 at any ARC facility. If you received dose 1 at a non-ARC location, like HEB, the second dose must be administered at the same location according to their process. 

    • How do I book my appointment to get my second dose of vaccine?

      You may have booked your second dose appointment already. If you have not, sign in to your ARC MyChart account to find a scheduling ticket to book your second dose of vaccine. If you do not have a MyChart account, we will call you to book your appointment. No need to call. 

    • Will ARC continue to receive vaccine?

      ARC is awaiting further guidance from Texas DSHS and Austin Public Health (APH) regarding the new Covid-19 vaccine distribution program announced by Governor Abbott on Monday, 1/11/2021. We hope to receive additional supplies of vaccine.

    • Who are the first to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

      ARC follows the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) phased plans. Healthcare workers, first responders, and residents at long-term care facilities (called Phase 1A) plus people over 65 or with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID‑19 (called Phase 1B) are currently eligible to receive the COVID‑19 vaccine. Read more

    • What do I do as an ARC Patient in the 1A group?

      ARC patients in group 1A can request a flag in their medical record by calling 866-453-4525 and choosing option “3”.

    • How does ARC prioritize patients for COVID-19 vaccinations?

      ARC prioritizes our patients who need a COVID-19 vaccination based on age and health risk. Our electronic medical record (EMR) system assigns a score to each individual according to information we already have in your health record about your age and underlying health conditions. The score is computed by an automated point system. When we get shipments of vaccine, we use this prioritized list to call patients and send scheduling tickets in our patient portal, ARC MyChart.

    • Do I need to call ARC to update my health history?

      If you are an ARC patient who has seen your primary care physician (PCP)in the last three years we have your updated health history and you do not need to call us or send us additional information.

      If you signed up at ARCshotrequest.com we do not need your health history at this time as we do not have vaccine right now. We will continue to email you updates on next steps as we learn more.

    • How do I know when ARC will have vaccine for me?

      You will receive an email notification about a vaccination scheduling ticket in your ARC MyChart account or we will call you to schedule a vaccine appointment.

      We recommend all patients have active MyChart accounts to streamline communication and scheduling. Call 512-272-4357 to activate your MyChart account. 

      Non-ARC patients should visit ARCshotrequest.com to determine if you are eligible to request a shot at ARC.

    • Will I need to book an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

      Yes, we will either send a scheduling ticket to your MyChart account or call you to book your appointment. You can expect to provide the necessary personal and insurance information and sign consent forms in order to get vaccinated. 

    • Will I be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the clinic or curbside?

      ARC provides in-clinic vaccinations so we can monitor patients for any reactions. You can expect to book an appointment, provide necessary personal and insurance information, and sign consent forms in order to get vaccinated.

    • How much does the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

      The vaccine cost includes the actual vaccine and the vaccine administration fee. ARC has been informed that the federal government will pay for each COVID-19 vaccine through the end of the national public health emergency. We have been informed that Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and most commercial plans will cover the vaccine and/or the vaccine administration fees without out of pocket expenses at this point in time.

        Medicare & Medicare Advantage Medicaid Private Plans Uninsured
      Required to cover vaccine and administration Yes, all plans Yes, State agencies and CHIP Most plans Yes, covered by Cares Act Provider Relief Fund
      No copayment/coinsurance
      No deductible
    • What are the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines?

      The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are both Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. The FDA has authorized the emergency use of both vaccines to prevent COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine can be used for individuals 16 years of age and older and the Moderna vaccine is for individuals 18 years of age and older under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Learn more.

    • What are the side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

      It is normal to have some side effects after any vaccination, like pain and swelling where you received the shot. You may also have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. They are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may slow you down but should go away in a few days.

    • What are the risks of allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

      The CDC recommends that someone with a history of severe allergic reactions or anaphylactic reaction to anything NOT in the vaccine can still get the COVID vaccine but must be observed for 30 minutes after vaccination instead of 15 minutes. If someone has had an anaphylactic reaction to any component that is PART OF the vaccine, then the vaccine should not be given.

    • Who should NOT get the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?

      You should not get the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine if you:

      • had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine.
      • had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of this vaccine. Learn more.
    • What are the ingredients in the Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 vaccine?

      The Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine includes the following ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose. Learn More.

    • What are the ingredients in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?

      The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine contains the following ingredients: messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose. Learn more.

    • How are the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines given?

      • Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are given as an injection into the muscle.
      • Both are a vaccination series of 2 doses.
      • Pfizer’s 2nd dose is given 21 days after the first dose and Moderna’s is given1 month after the first dose.
      • You must receive a second dose of the same vaccine to complete the vaccination series. Learn more.
    • What is an mRNA vaccine?

      Messenger RNA (mRNA) is the genetic material that a virus or a cell in your body uses to teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

    • How does the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine work?

      The COVID-19 virus uses mRNA to produce the spike protein that forms the outer layer of the virus. The spike protein in the virus generates an immune response. The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of the spike protein, our immune system recognizes it does not belong and begins making antibodies. The advantage of an mRNA vaccine is that it generates a stronger type of immunity –making antibodies and immune system killer cells – a double strike against viruses. Learn more.

    • How new are mRNA vaccines?

      Scientists have been exploring developing mRNA vaccines as far back as 30 years ago, so it’s not an entirely new concept. In fact, it’s relatively easy and fast to make mRNA in large quantities in the laboratory. mRNA vaccines have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Beyond vaccines, cancer research has used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells. Learn more.

    • Should I be concerned about having genetic material injected into me?

      Messenger RNA (mRNA) enters the immune cells in your body as a message for that cell to create proteins that generate an immune response. The mRNA gets rapidly degraded inside the cell and never enters the nucleus of the cell (where your DNA is contained). So, the mRNA is not interfering or interacting with your genetic material.

    • Will ARC provide a single dose vaccine or 2-dose vaccine?

    • Moderna's and Pfizer’s 2-dose COVID-19 vaccines are the first vaccines distributed by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). ARC will send reminders to patients to get their 2nd dose of the vaccine at the appropriate time depending on which vaccine was given. Moderna's 2nd dose is given 28 days after the first and Pfizer's 2nd dose is given 21 days after the first.

    • Should I get the vaccine if I am pregnant?

      The COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been studied in pregnant women. This is best discussed with your Ob/Gyn physician so you can consider exposure risk and health complications.

    • Is the vaccine safe for children?

      The CDC has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 16 and older only. ARC is enrolling children between 12 and 15 years old for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Sign up your child for the COVID-19 Pfizer Study. The Moderna vaccine is approved for ages 18 and older.

    • If I had a positive COVID-19 test or if I have antibodies is the vaccine needed?

      People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated as re-infection is possible. Experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data. Click here for more information.

    • How long does immunity last from the vaccine?

      We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about. Click here for more information.

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Diagnosing & testing

    • What types of COVID-19 tests are available at ARC?

      ARC offers the molecular test, known as the RT-PCR test, which normally results within 1-2 days. PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” as it detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus within days of infection, even in those who have no symptoms.

    • What is the difference between the RT-PCR test and antigen test?

      Both the molecular (PCR) test and antigen test for COVID-19 are diagnostic tests. The PCR test detects the genetic material of the virus and the antigen test detects specific proteins from the virus. According to the FDA, antigen tests are more likely to miss an active COVID-19 infection compared to molecular tests. ARC offers the RT-PCR test. Learn more.

    • Can I get tested at ARC for travel to Hawaii?

      ARC performs the necessary test that Hawaii requires, however, the State of Hawaii has temporarily suspended the onboarding of new domestic testing partners. We hope to be added to their list. In the meantime, if you are traveling to Hawaii, you must get tested at one of their testing partner sites.

    • Where can I get pre-op COVID-19 testing?

      ARC offers pre-op COVID-19 testing at our drive-up sites for new and established ARC patients. 

    • Is there a number I can call with questions?

      The ARC COVID-19 Information and Advice Hotline is open 24/7 at 866-453-4525. The hotline provides advice on self-care and treatment recommendations.

      You always have the option of scheduling an appointment with us if needed or you can speak with a nurse if you have questions.

    • How do I know if I need a viral test or antibody test?

      A viral test is a nasal swab and tells you if you have a current infection. An antibody test is a blood test and can tell you if had a past infection. Both tests are offered at ARC to new and established patients. We can also set up business accounts for employers who would like to pay for testing for their employees.

    • Can anybody get tested for COVID-19?

      New and established patients can be tested for COVID-19 at ARC. All patients must have an in-clinic or telemedicine visit with a doctor to determine what test is needed and if more care besides testing is needed. Call the hotline at 866-453-4525 to schedule an in-clinic or telemedicine visit, or follow the scheduling instructions at ARCappointments.com

      Read more about Coronavirus testing at ARC

    • Where do you offer drive-up testing?

      ARC conducts COVID-19 drive-up testing at the locations listed below.

      Drive-up COVID-19 Testing Locations - North to South

      ARC Cedar Park

      ARC Round Rock 

      ARC Far West 

      ARC South 1st 

      ARC Southwest

      ARC Kyle Plum Creek

      Read more about drive-up testing at ARC

    • How does drive-up testing work?

      All patients must first have a visit with an ARC doctor. Call the hotline at 866-453-4525 to schedule an in-clinic or telemedicine visit, or follow the scheduling instructions at ARCappointments.com. After your visit, your physician will direct you to the nearest ARC drive-thru testing site. An ARC clinician will screen you at the drive-up testing site to ensure you are not experiencing breathing difficulties. If you do not require immediate medical attention, a nasal swab will be obtained and sent to the lab for COVID-19 testing.

      Read more about drive-up testing

    • Can I get tested without an appointment with a doctor?

      No. All patients must first have a visit with an ARC doctor. Call the hotline at 866-453-4525 to schedule, or avoid a potential long hold time and book a telemedicine appointment by following the scheduling instructions at ARCappointments.com. After the visit, patients are directed to the nearest drive-up testing tent.

      Read more about drive-up testing

    • How long does it take to get the results?

      Currently, it takes 1-2 days to receive results.

    • Will I see my results in ARC MyChart?

      Yes. It takes 1-2 days for postive or negative results to appear in ARC MyChart

    • Can I do a telemedicine visit with my ARC doctor?

      Most ARC primary and specialty care doctors offer telemedicine visits if appropriate. A telemedicine visit may be carried out by video or phone call. You can request a telemedicine visit at the time you book your appointment. In some cases, if an in-person office visit is booked, your doctor may decide to see you via telemedicine. If that happens your healthcare team will contact you in advance. Many of our patients appreciate being able to take care of their medication refills and COVID-19 evaluations without leaving their homes. You can book many telemedicine visits on ARC MyChart.

    • What if I test negative for COVID-19 and still have symptoms?

      If your COVID-19 test result is negative but you have symptoms related to the illness, you may still have the virus in your system and should continue to protect yourself and minimize spread.

      Please remain in home quarantine no less than 10 days from the onset of symptoms AND until you have been fever-free without medications for 24 hours AND until you have improvement in cough and shortness of breath. Practice strict home hygiene to avoid spread in your household.

      Treat your symptoms with over the counter medications and call the ARC 24/7 COVID-19 hotline at 866-453-4525 if you have emergency warning signs such as persistent and worsening shortness of breath, pain in the chest, or confusion. Our nurses and doctors can determine if we can care for you in our clinic or if you need to go to the ER.

    • Should I do a blood type test?

      There was a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that suggests that blood type can impact the risk of developing severe COVID-19. However, the study is still inconclusive and your blood type will not change recommended preventive or treatment measures. The presence or absence of underlying health problems, like chronic heart and lung disease, has much more of an impact than the possible association with blood type.

      It is not currently recommended that you do blood type testing to determine COVID-19 risk and there are contradictory findings at other institutions. A blood type test is also not covered by most health plans. If you would like to check your blood type and prefer not to spend the out-of-pocket lab fees, we recommend donating blood if you meet the requirements. When you donate blood, you are informed of your blood type and also help the community's blood supply.

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Antibody testing

    • What is an antibody test?

      An antibody test might tell you if you had a past COVID-19 infection. It is most accurate if you get the test at least 2 weeks after the onset of symptoms. It is a blood test and results can take 1-5 days depending on demand.

    • Can I get an antibody test at ARC?

      Yes. ARC offers antibody testing for individuals and businesses. If you have a lab order from an ARC physician, you can make an appointment at any ARC clinic for a blood draw. Businesses can call 512-407-8686 to set up an account. Results take about 3-5 days. 

    • Can I get a COVID-19 anti-body test at ARC after I have my COVID-19 vaccine?

      Every situation is different so you should talk to your doctor if you have concerns. There are different types of antibody tests – some that look for prior infection, and others that could indicate prior vaccination. However, the correct timing and titer of antibody testing for vaccine response is unknown. Vaccine immunity comes from other responses by the immune system (like T cell immunity), not just antibodies. Because of these facts, antibody testing for vaccine immunity is not recommended.

    • Do I have to be an ARC patient to get an antibody test at ARC?

      No. New and established patients can have an antibody test at ARC. New patients must have a telemedicine visit with a doctor to determine if an antibody test is indicated.

    • How do I get a lab order for an antibody test?

      • If you have had a visit with an ARC doctor for COVID-related symptoms, you can message that doctor on MyChart or call the clinic to request a lab order.
      • If you suspect you had COVID-19 or had direct contact with someone with COVID-19 but we have not seen you for COVID-related issues, then you must schedule an in-clinic or telemedicine visit with an ARC doctor. ARC doctors will explain antibody testing to you and how to interpret the results specific to your situation. We recommend a telemedicine visit for your convenience.

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Insurance and cost

    • How can I continue to see my doctor if I lose my health insurance due to this pandemic?

      You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to get covered through the Marketplace, Medicaid, or CHIP. If you do, you can enroll outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period. We can help you stay with your ARC doctor.

    • What is the cost if I am uninsured?

      ARC is currently enrolling our doctors in a federal program that will cover COVID-related medical expenses for uninsured patients. This program is part of the FFCRA and CARES Act. We cannot guarantee that your visit and your test will be fully covered. If it is not covered, we do offer discounted pricing and payment plans.

    • What discounts do you offer uninsured patients?

      As a courtesy, ARC offers a 25% cash discount on most services to uninsured patients who pay in full at the time of service or by the “Due Date” on the first billing statement received. Please call (512) 407-8686 for further details. For an estimate of charges it is best to call your clinic in advance. Some services, such as lab tests, may be billed by the laboratory conducting testing.

    • Is there an affordable option for prescription medication?

      Express Scripts has set up a temporary program called Parachute RX for uninsured patients to make medications more affordable. It contains thousands of generic medications for $25 or less and some brand-name drugs for $75 or less. The program is available for medications from Express Scripts mail order and over 50,000 retail pharmacies.

       

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Patient safety

    • Do I have to wear a mask to my visit?

      Yes, please wear a surgical mask to your visit for the health and safety of yourself and others. Strict mask use has proven successful in protecting the health and safety of our doctors and staff. We also comply with all local ordinances concerning COVID-19 health and safety measures. A surgical mask is preferred; a cloth mask is acceptable. If you have a valved mask, you can ask for a surgical mask from the greeter to replace or wear with your valved mask.

    • If I prefer not to come in, can I have a telemedicine visit?

      Your ARC primary or specialty care doctor will determine if you need to have your visit in the clinic or if a telemedicine visit is possible. You can schedule many telemedicine visits through ARC MyChart. You can also call your clinic and press "1" and request a telemedicine visit when you speak to a scheduler. Read more at ARCtelemedicine.com.

    • How does ARC separate patients exhibiting respiratory symptoms from others?

      ARC greeters screen all patients for symptoms of potential viral illness before entering the clinic. This protocol applies to all visits at all clinics, both primary care and specialty care.

      • For patients with symptoms, the greeter checks them in from outside the clinic and asks them to wait in their car. An ARC staff member meets them at the door when their exam room is ready and escorts them directly to the exam room.
      • Patients without symptoms check in at the front desk and wait in the lobby.
    • Can I bring a visitor with me to my visit?

      Due to the spread of COVID-19, ARC discourages guests. Patients may be accompanied by one healthy adult per patient, if help is needed for the visit. ARC greeters screen all visitors before entering the clinic and visitors with symptoms of any viral illness will be required to wait outside of the clinic.

    • How does ARC protect patients from getting coronavirus from staff?

      ARC follows CDC and City of Austin guidelines taking the following precautions.

      • Physicians, clinicians, and staff self monitor for symptoms and fever and wear masks at all times.
      • Anyone with a temperature or suspicion of COVID-19 gets tested and goes home to self-isolate.
      • If they test negative, they self-isolate until the fever is gone 24 hours AND symptoms improve.
      • If they test positive, they self-isolate until their fever is gone for 24 hours AND it has been at least 10 days since symptom onset AND symptoms improve.
      • If they do not have symptoms but had direct contact with a household member who tested positive and with whom they had prolonged close content, they self-quarantine for 14 days. 

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COVID-19 vaccine research study

    • Where can I participate in a COVID-19 vaccine research study?

      Austin Regional Clinic offers opportunities for participation in clinical research studies. We are currently conducting a COVID-19 vaccine study at ARC Wilson Parke. Please visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Study page for more information. To sign up, call 512-225-5931.

    • Is it risky to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine research study?

      Research standards are very strict; this helps to ensure maximum safety to participants. This is a phase III trial. This is usually the last stage before FDA approval, meaning it has passed strict safety measures to get to this point. This study, like all others at ARC, has been reviewed by teams of government and research experts to ensure the benefits outweigh any risks of the study.

    • Will I have side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

      All medications and vaccines currently used can have side effects. Study participants may experience side effects. Our research team is there to carefully track any side effects and benefits you may have. Monitoring your health and safety is our top priority.

    • Am I paid to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine study?

      You are compensated for your participation to cover your time, travel, and participation. All your study medications, lab tests, and health evaluations are free. You can also have the satisfaction of helping to advance medical science.

    • How do I sign up for your COVID-19 Vaccine research study?

      Call 512-225-5931 to sign up for the study. For more information, visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Study page.

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Risk factors

    • Am I at risk for COVID-19 in Central Texas?

    • How easily does COVID-19 spread?

      The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily and sustainably in the community ("community spread"). Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area and may not be sure how or where they became infected. The virus spreads between people who are in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

      Read more about how COVID-19 spreads.

    • How can I tell if information online is true?

      There is a lot of information online about coronavirus that is untrue or misleading. In addition, fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries in a number of ways, including telemarketing calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits. Please be cautious of unsolicited requests for any ID or credit card information. A good resource to determine if something you read online is true is www.snopes.com. If you suspect COVID-19 fraud, contact National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline (866) 720-5721 or disaster@leo.gov.

      The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about fraud schemes. Read more.

    • Are children at increased risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality from COVID-19 infection compared with adults?

      Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. However, a few children have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). Currently, information about this syndrome is limited. CDC is working with state and local health departments to learn more about MIS-C.

      Read more about COVID-19 and children.

    • Are pregnant women more susceptible to infection, or at increased risk for severe illness with COVID-19?

      The CDC advises that pregnant women have no greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public. However, they recognize that pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections with viruses from the same family as COVID-19. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

      Read more about COVID-19 and pregnant women.

    • Is breastfeeding safe when a mother has an infectious illness?

      Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses. The limited data available suggests that the virus does not likely spread through breast milk. The CDC recommends a mother with symptoms or with confirmed COVID-19 should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast.  If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use. If possible, consider having someone who is well, feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.

      Read more about COVID-19 and breastfeeding.

       

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Common symptoms

    • What is COVID-19?

      COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.

      Read more about COVID-19.

    • What are the symptoms?

      Most people, especially children and those under 60 with no chronic medical conditions, who contract COVID-19 develop very mild symptoms that include fever, a dry cough, and fatigue, few will develop more advanced symptoms such as shortness of breath.

      covid19 symptoms

    • What symptoms require immediate attention?

      If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs* include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face.

      Read more about COVID-19 symptoms.

      *This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

       

    • What are similarities between flu, and COVID-19?

      Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

      • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Fatigue (tiredness)
      • Sore throat
      • Runny or stuffy nose
      • Muscle pain or body aches
      • Headache
      • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea

      Signs and symptoms of COVID-19, different from flu, may include change in or loss of taste or smell.

      Click here to read more.

    • How can I tell if I have a cold, flu, allergies, or COVID-19?

      A stuffy nose, sore throat, and a cough are all common symptoms. While there are subtle ways to help you distinguish between cold, flu, and allergies, COVID-19 is less predictable. No matter what may be slowing you down, we recommend extra caution this season. Stay home if you are not feeling well to avoid spreading any virus you may be carrying. Book an in-clinic or telemedicine visit if your symptoms worsen, if you want a flu or COVID-19 test, or if you have other health concerns.

      Click here to read more.

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When to seek medical care

    • When should I call my doctor?

      You should seek medical advice if you have symptoms of fever, a dry cough, fatigue, or shortness of breath, especially if you are over 60 or have underlying health conditions. If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

      • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
      • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
      • New confusion or inability to arouse
      • Bluish lips or face

      Call the 24/7 ARC COVID-19 Information and Advice Hotline at 866-453-4525 if you have questions.

    • Do I need to go to the ER?

      You should call 9-1-1 or go to the ER only if you experience emergency warning signs. Emergency warning signs include:

      • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
      • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
      • New confusion or inability to arouse
      • Bluish lips or face

      We recommend you call your primary doctor at the first sign of symptoms. This will help limit the spread of the virus in our community. It will also allow emergency departments to care for patients with the most critical needs first.

      Call the 24/7 ARC COVID-19 Information and Advice Hotline at 866-453-4525 if you have questions.

       

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Treatment

    • Are there any treatments available for children and adults with COVID-19?

      There are currently some investigational antiviral drugs being used to treat COVID-19. As studies progress the recommendations change. It is best to discuss available treatments with your doctor.  Learn more.

      Antibiotics are not effective to treat COVID-19 since it is caused by a virus and antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. 

    • How should I take care of myself or family members if I suspect COVID-19 or test positive?

      If you display any signs of COVID-19, the best course of treatment in the majority of cases is to stay at home and treat your symptoms with over the counter medications. Here is what our ARC doctors recommend:

      • The CDC recommends continuing self-isolation until fever is resolved for 24 hours AND symptoms improve AND it has been at least 10 days since symptom onset.
      • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headache, body aches, fever, and pain.
      • Use the lowest amount of a drug that makes your fever get better as your body is working to fight the virus.
      • Get plenty of rest.
      • Stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of liquids including broth, tea, or another warm beverage.
      • Use cough drops or an over the counter cough suppressant as needed. (Ask the pharmacist what over-the-counter cough medicine is best for your cough. There any many options and your pharmacist can give you good advice).
      • Honey has been shown to help decrease coughing at night. The adult dose is 2 teaspoons (10 ml) at bedtime.
      • Avoid smoking to protect your lungs from infection.

      Read more about what to do if you get sick

    • What is the ordinance for people who are sick with coronavirus disease?

      If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, the shelter-in-place ordinance requires you to remain in home quarantine no less than 10 days from the onset of symptoms AND until you have been fever-free without medications at 24 hours AND until you have improvement in cough and shortness of breath.

      While sick, you must practice social distancing within the residence, and observe hygiene practices for prevention of household spread, notifying the county health department if that is not possible. You must also notify your county’s public health authority if you leave your county.

       

    • Would you like to become a COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor? 

      We Are Blood is actively collecting convalescent plasma donations from individuals who have had a lab-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and have fully recovered from a COVID-19 infection. This plasma is being used to treat patients currently fighting COVID-19. To qualify as a convalescent plasma donor you must have had a prior lab-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, have experienced no COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14-28 days, and meet standard donor eligibility criteria.

      COVID-19 convalescent plasma has not yet been fully tested for its effectiveness in treating the virus. However, before a vaccine is developed, COVID-19 convalescent plasma is an option for treating current COVID-19 patients and has been used successfully in the past to treat diseases like SARS and Ebola before vaccines were available.

      If you are a fully recovered COVID-19 patient and want to be considered as a convalescent plasma donor, please visit the We Are Blood website for more information. We Are Blood is the provider and protector of the Central Texas blood supply since 1951.

       

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Prevention

    • Should I wear a face mask or covering when I go out?

      As of June 18, 2020, the City of Austin and Travis County has made it mandatory for all businesses to require that all employees and customers wear a face mask or covering. This requirement does include a doctor’s office. This is an additional protective measure to prevent asymptomatic carriers from spreading the virus and further slow the spread of COVID-19. The recommendation is for use of cloth face coverings and not medical-grade masks or N-95 respirators, which, while better, are in short supply and should be conserved for healthcare workers and first responders. At the clinic, if you have any symptoms of viral illness, the ARC greeter at the entrance will give you a medical-grade surgical mask to wear. This ensures the safety of a healthcare visit.

    • Is a valve mask as safe as other masks?

      No. A "valve mask" only protects the wearer but does not protect people around the person wearing the mask. The valve is one-way, filtering air breathed in, not breathed out. It does not protect people around the wearer because droplets from breath, sneezes, and coughs still spread through the valve. Valved masks do not prevent transmission from infected individuals (with or without symptoms) to people around them. During this pandemic, a surgical mask or cloth mask is far superior. Surgical mask is preferred when you come into the clinic; cloth mask is acceptable. Please ask for a surgical mask from the greeter to replace or wear with your valved mask.

    • If I wear a mask do I still need to social distance?

      Yes, it is critical to understand that a face covering or mask does not substitute for the need to maintain physical distancing. Instead, face coverings — coupled with physical distancing — are seen as important tools to decrease the risk of illness spread.

      Read the CDC recommendation for face coverings
      View the fabric face covering flyer

    • How can I protect myself and my family?

      The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Everyday preventive measures are effective; the same ones that prevent the spread of colds and the flu:

      • Stay home if you are sick and self-isolate until fever is resolved for 24 hours AND symptoms improve AND it has been at least 10 days since symptom onset.
      • Avoid contact with those over 60 and with anyone who has any serious chronic medical conditions.
      • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
      • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put your used tissue in a waste basket and wash your hands. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
      • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
      • Practice social distancing by avoiding large crowds.
      • Avoid handshakes, hugs, and kisses. Learn how to greet without exposure.
      • Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone else.
      • Avoid non-essential travel.

      Read more about how to protect yourself

    • How can I talk to my kids about Coronavirus?

      Dr. Elizabeth Knapp, Co-Chief of ARC Pediatrics, suggests that before starting the conversation, parents should first check their own anxiety level. If you are anxious about this conversation, perhaps the other parent or a grandparent or another adult should be the one to have the conversation. Start by asking kids of any age about what they already know. Listen to what they say and correct any misinformation. Start with a question like, “Have you heard grownups talking about a new sickness going around?”

      Read the full article here

    • What can I do to reduce stress and anxiety?

      A few things to reduce stress and anxiety include:

      • Give yourself a break from screens: watching the news, social media, your smart phone.
      • Take deep breaths, eat healthy, outdoor exercise, and get plenty of rest.
      • Do activities you enjoy (keeping in mind the social distancing measures above).
      • Connect with friends and family online or by phone, or in person if everyone is feeling healthy and symptom-free.
    • Is it safe to attend local events?

      No, due to community spread, all local events have been canceled until further notice.

       

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Returning to work after COVID-19 illness

    • Do I need to require a doctor’s notes for my employees to return to work?

      No. According to the Austin Public Health Department, during the pandemic, employees who meet the following criteria for returning to work should NOT be required by employers to provide a healthcare provider’s note to return to work.

      The employee has had no fever for at least 24 hours, WITHOUT the use of fever reducing medications
      AND
      Respiratory symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath have improved)
      AND
      At least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared.

      Download the Austin Public Health Return to Work Guidance flyer.

    • Do the EEOC and CDC recommend doctor’s notes to return to work?

      No. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advise that, practically speaking, doctors and other healthcare providers may be too busy to provide such documentation, so employers should consider allowing these employees to return to work as they see fit. Because of this, the CDC does not recommend that employers require their employees to provide communication from a physician or healthcare provider, "clearing," them to return to work.

      Download the Austin Public Health Return to Work Guidance flyer.

       

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Social distancing

    • Is it still important to practice social distancing?

      Social distancing minimizes the spread of the virus. When we stay away from many people we deprive the virus the opportunity to move from one person to another. What does that mean in everyday actions?

      • Stay at home as much as possible.
      • Avoid gathering in public places.
      • Get your exercise outside rather than in a space with groups of people.
      • Take advantage of grocery delivery and pick-up services or shop when it is less crowded. Keep 6 -10 feet away from other people.
      • Avoid handshakes, hugs, and kisses. Learn how to greet without exposure.

      Social distancing feels awkward and unnatural. We are social beings who need human interaction, so this call to distance ourselves from each other will be difficult. It has proved successful in places like Hong Kong and Singapore where they were able to flatten out the curve, unlike in Italy where it has overwhelmed their healthcare resources. The best we can do is learn from others' success.

      Read more about how to protect yourself.

       


Resources


Posters/Flyers
Print posters or flyers for your home, school, or business to help keep everyone informed and safe.
How to Greet without Exposure
If You're Coughing Wear a Mask
Stop the Spread of Germs
Wash Your Hands
ARC Pre-OP Patient Instructions
What To Do If You Are Sick With COVID-19

 

Texas Department of State Health Services
Got COVID-19 vaccine questions? Visit the website or call the DSHS COVID 19 call center: (877) 570-9779 (Hours: 7am - 6pm Monday - Friday)

Austin Public Health
Travis County COVID-19 Summary: Visit the Austin Public Health page

View the Travis County COVID-19 Dashboard

Austin Public Health Return to Work Guidance

 

Williamson County Public Health
Williamson County COVID-19 Summary: Visit the Williamson County Public Health page

View the Williamson County COVID-19 Dashboard

 

CDC COVID-19 FAQs
More COVID-19 questions? Visit the CDC FAQ page

6 Steps to Prevent COVID-19 (ASL Version)

 

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

Global Cases
COVID-19 Global Cases by John Hopkins CSSE

Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line
The Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919 or you may click here.

Texas Health and Human Services
Access the website https://hhs.texas.gov/ for information on assistance with health care, utilities, food, housing, and more.

General Resources
Visit the links below for resources related to health care, utilities, food, housing, and more. Texans can dial 2-1-1 (option 6) for information on COVID-19 and local community resources.

www.austintexas.gov

http://www.connectatx.org

https://www.auntbertha.com