Austin Regional Clinic

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Austin Regional Clinic

Austin Regional Clinic

COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Vaccination Update 1/11/2022

Vaccine Update: Per CDC guidelines, ARC offers the COVID-19 booster for ages 12+ and vaccines for ages 5+. Schedule at MyChartARC.com (quickest access) or 866-453-4525. Click here for guidance on proxy access to your child's MyChart account.

Masking Policy: ARC continues masking in our clinics for all patients, doctors, and staff, even if fully vaccinated.

Same-Day appointments -- daytime, nighttime, weekend, holiday -- Book at ARCappointments.com or 512-272-4636 - "1"

Scam Alert: Report suspected COVID-19 health care fraud immediately online or 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477). Read more.

 
 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

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Vaccine for ages 5-17 | Delta/Omicron Variant | COVID-19 Vaccine | Booster Shots | Diagnosis & TestingAntibody TestingInsurance & CostPatient SafetyResearch StudyRisk FactorsSymptomsWhen to Seek CareTreatmentPreventionReturning to WorkSocial Distancing |


 Vaccines for Ages 5-17

    • Does ARC offer the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-17 years old?

      Yes. ARC follows the CDC-recommended COVID-19 vaccine schedules for children and teens.

    • How to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-17.

      • With proxy access: Visit MyChartARC.com, choose [COVID-19 vaccination], and follow the prompts.
      • Without proxy access: Schedule at the ARC COVID-19 Hotline, 866-453-4525.
      • To get proxy access: Visit ARCMyChartproxy.com for guidance.
    • Can 5-17 year olds get their regular vaccinations and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?

      Yes. As per CDC guidelines, regular vaccinations and the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered at the same time.

    • Is the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine safe for children ages 5-17?

      Tens of thousands of volunteers ages 5-17 were involved in clinical trials for the vaccines. The clinical trials showed that the COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably safe and effective before they got FDA emergency use authorization.

      The FDA has given the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine emergency authorization to use in children ages 5 through 15 years old and full approval to use in people ages 16 years and older. Learn more about the process of developing, authorizing, and approving COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines continue to be monitored very closely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that COVID-19 vaccines will have "the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history."

    • Is the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-17 the same as the adult version?

      The composition of the vaccine is the same, but the dosage for the 5–11-year-old age group is lower. The FDA approval is for a dose that is 1/3 of the adult dose.

      The dosage for 12–17-year-olds is the same as it is for adults.

      The schedule for 5–17-year-olds is the same as it is for adults: two doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, 21 days or more apart.

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COVID-19 Delta and Omicron Variants

    • What is the Omicron variant?

      The Omicron variant (known as B.1.1.529) is a highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus strain. The CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. More data are needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.

    • What is the Delta variant?

      The Delta variant (known as B.167.2) is a highly contagious (and possibly more severe) SARS-CoV-2 virus strain. The CDC considers the Delta variant a Variant of Concern (VOC). A VOC seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths primarily for unvaccinated individuals. Currently, the Delta variant accounts for the majority of new COVID-19 cases in the US. It’s possible it has a slightly higher likelihood of causing more severe disease, but the data is inconclusive.

    • What are the symptoms of the Delta and Omicron variants?

      Symptoms of the Delta and Omicron variant are more like a bad cold. The most common symptoms are:

      • Headache
      • Sore throat
      • Runny nose
      • Fever
      • Cough
    • Are vaccines effective against the Delta and Omicron variants?

      Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Delta and Omicron variants. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters. The CDC recommends that everyone ages 16 years and older should get a booster shot at least two months after their initial J&J/Janssen vaccine or six months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

    • Does ARC lab test for variants in vaccinated patients who have tested positive for COVID-19?

      Currently, variant testing is only available through hospitals for patients that have severe COVID-19 infection.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Latest Updates

    • What vaccines do you have available?

      ARC has all of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA; Pfizer, Pediatric Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson&Johnson. Go to the ARC COVID-19 Vaccine page to find the clinic and shot most convenient to you.  

    • What is the difference between the COVID-19 vaccine and the COVID-19 booster?

      The terms are used to differentiate between the point in time in which they are received, as well as their intent. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines consist of two shots spaced out over several weeks, meant to create antibodies in your system to fight the coronavirus. The intent of the booster shot is to “boost” the effects of the initial vaccinations.

      COVID-19 booster shots are the same ingredients (formulation) as the current COVID-19 vaccines. However, in the case of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, the dose is half of the amount of the vaccine people get for their primary series.

      Visit the CDC booster shot page to get the latest information on who should get the booster shot and when. 

    • Can a vaccinated person get sick and transmit the virus to someone else?

      The most recent update from the CDC: The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. This is a fluid situation, and we will keep the updates coming as we learn more.  

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COVID-19 Vaccine Initial Doses at ARC

    • 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. We can schedule patients for their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at ARC when we have vaccine available, regardless of where they received the first dose. 

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

      You can book the appointment for your second dose in ARC MyChart, or by calling 866-453-4525.

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

      Yes. You can view scheduling options at ARCcovidvaccine.com. 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 at all locations; ARC South 1st offers curbside vaccination. We will monitor patients for any reactions if you get the vaccine in-clinic or curbside. 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?

      There is no cost to patients for either the vaccine or for the administration of the vaccine.  The federal government will pay for each COVID-19 vaccine through the end of the national public health emergency. Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and most commercial plans will cover the vaccine and the vaccine administration fee without out of pocket expenses through the end of the national public health emergency. 

        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

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COVID-19 Booster Vaccine at ARC

    • Who can get a COVID-19 booster shot at ARC?

      Boosters are available at ARC to people 5 years and older, depending on the criteria outlined by the CDC as of 1/7/2022: 

      • Children 5 – 11 years old: For moderately or severely immunocompromised children aged 5–11 years old, CDC now recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to complete the primary series – a total of three doses.

      • Teens 12-17 years old: CDC now recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to complete the primary series – a total of three doses.
      • Adults 18 years and older: CDC now recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to complete the primary series – a total of three doses. If you received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, you can get a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) are preferred in most* situations. 

      *Although mRNA vaccines are preferred, J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations.

      Timing of booster shots: CDC now recommends booster shots at

      • 5 months after the completion of the primary series of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 12 and older.

      • 6 months after the completion of the primary series of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 18 and older.

      • 2 months after receiving your J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccination for those aged 18 and older. 

      If you would like to schedule your booster now, you can schedule online at MyChartARC.com or call 866-453-4525.

      Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html and https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/ 

    • Can I get a COVID-19 booster at ARC if I did not get my first shots there?

      You don’t have to have gotten your J&J/Janssen or first two mRNA doses at ARC to get your booster at ARC.

    • Do I have to be a patient of ARC to get a COVID-19 booster at ARC?

      No. New patients can schedule a booster at ARC at 866-453-4525.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

    • What is the difference between the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines?

       

      Johnson and Johnson  

      Moderna

      Pfizer

      Age 18+ 18+ 5+
      How it works Uses cold virus (does not replicate, does not make you sick) to deliver a genetic message to your body to make spike protein which produces an immune response Uses tiny lipid bubbles to deliver a genetic message (mRNA)  to your body to make spike protein which produces an immune response Uses tiny lipid bubbles to deliver a genetic message (mRNA)  to your body to make spike protein which produces an immune response
      How many doses 1 2 2
      When can I return for my 2nd dose? No 2nd dose needed **28 days after the 1st dose **21 days after the 1st dose
      When is full effectiveness achieved? 2 weeks after administration of the single dose 2 weeks after administration of the 2nd dose 2 weeks after administration of the 2nd dose

      **CDC allows second doses to be given up to 4 days early (17 days for Pfizer and 24 days for Moderna.)

      **Ideally, the second doses should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible, but may be given within 42 days of the first dose. If a second dose is given after the 42-day interval, it does not need to be repeated.

    • What are the guidelines if I've been vaccinated?

      After you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, take these steps to protect yourself and others: 

      Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html  

      ARC continues our current practice of masking for all patients, doctors, and staff when in our clinics. 

    • 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 5 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 about Pfizer.

      Learn more about Moderna.

    • 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.

    • What are the ingredients in the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine?

      The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine contains the following ingredients: Recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-COV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dehydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-B-cyclodesxtrin (HBCD), polysorbate, and sodium Chloride. Learn more.

      It is best not to get the vaccine within 48 hours of an allergy immunotherapy shot (allergy shot.)

    • 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 about Pfizer.

      Learn more about Moderna.

    • What is the difference between an mRNA and viral vector 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.

      A viral vector vaccine uses a harmless version of a different virus, called a “vector,” to deliver information to the body that helps it protect you. The vaccine teaches your body how to make copies of the spike proteins. If you are exposed to the real virus later, your body will recognize it and know how to fight it off.

    • 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.

    • Should I get the vaccine if I am pregnant?

      ARC OB doctors support the recommendations of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society of Maternal and Fetal Medicine – both recommend COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. Pregnancy increases the risk of severe COVID-19 and recently published studies have confirmed the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, you can discuss with your OB doctor.

    • What are mammography recommendations for women receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine?

      Screening mammograms and COVID-19 vaccines are both very important for your health.

      • COVID-19 vaccine
        Some women who receive the COVID-19 vaccine develop swollen lymph nodes under their arm on the same side as their vaccine injection. This is the normal immune reaction to a vaccine. These swollen lymph nodes usually return to normal on their own in a few days or weeks.
      • Why do swollen lymph nodes matter?
        Breast radiologists look closely for any changes on your mammogram. Swollen lymph nodes under one arm can be seen on a mammogram and can be a rare sign of breast cancer
      • What happens if there are swollen lymph nodes on my mammogram?
        Depending on your medical history and when you received your vaccine, the breast radiologist may recommend that you return to the breast center for an ultrasound of your underarm area and they also may recommend a follow up exam to show that the lymph nodes have returned to normal size.
      • When should I schedule my screening mammogram?
        Try to schedule your screening mammogram before your first COVID-19 vaccine dose or at least 4 weeks after your second vaccine dose. This reduces the chance that swollen lymph nodes from the vaccine will appear on your mammogram.
      • What if my mammogram is already scheduled?
        Keep your vaccination appointment. Getting vaccinated is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19. Consider rescheduling your screening mammogram if possible before your vaccine. However, if you are already overdue for your screening exam or cannot reschedule within the next few months, keep your screening mammogram appointment and keep your COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Regular screening mammograms ensure that breast cancer can be detected as early as possible. Both are very important to ensure that you stay healthy. It’s especially important to keep your mammogram appointment if you are significantly overdue for screening. Remember: annual screening saves the most lives.
      • What should I tell the technologist on the day of my screening mammogram?
        Notify your mammography technologist if you have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Tell her when you received the vaccine, and which arm the vaccine was given. State whether it’s your first or second dose. This information will help the breast radiologist interpreting your screening mammogram
      • What if I have other breast problems?
        If you have any changes in your breast or underarm, such as pain or a lump, contact your medical provider. The guidelines above are only for women with no breast symptoms who are scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • 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 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 currently results within 1-3 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.

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

      New and established patients can schedule drive-up testing for COVID-19 at ARC WITHOUT a telemedicine or in-person visit. If you are asymptomatic you can schedule a drive-up Direct COVID-19 Test. Currently, it takes 1-3 days to receive results.

      • Book at ARC MyChart if you already have an account.
      • Book online if you are new to ARC or do not have a MyChart account.
    • 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. 

      • If an ARC physician is doing the surgery, they will enter the lab order and you can go straight to a drive-up testing site.
      • If a non-ARC physician is doing the surgery:
        • Book at ARC MyChart, if you already have an account.
        • Call the 24/7 COVID-19 hotline at 866-453-4525 if you are new to ARC or you do not have a MyChart account.
      • Schedule your appointment within 7 days of your surgery.
    • 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.

    • 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?

      New and established patients can schedule drive-up testing for COVID-19 without a telemedicine or in-person visit if they are asymptomatic. An ARC clinician will screen each patient at the drive-thru testing site. For those who 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

    • How long does it take to get the results?

      It normally takes 1-2 days to receive results, except during periods of high demand.

    • Will I see my results in ARC MyChart?

      Yes. It takes 1-3 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 5 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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Treatment

    • What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

      Under the latest CDC guidelines (12/27/2021) if your COVID-19 test result is positive, regardless of vaccine status:

      • Stay home for 5 days.
      • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house.
      • Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days. (If you are unable to wear a mask, quarantine for 10 days total) 
      • If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.

      For asymptomatic people in your household:

      If they have been boosted, or completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months, or completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months, they will no longer need to quarantine according to the CDC, but will need to:

      • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.
      • Test on day 5, if possible.
      • If they develop symptoms get a test and stay home.

      For asymptomatic people in your household that are unvaccinated, or do not meet the vaccination criteria above, they will need to:

      • Quarantine for 5 days, after that, continue to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days.
      • If they are unable to quarantine, they will need to wear a mask around others for 10 days.
      • Test on day 5 if possible.
      • If they develop symptoms get a test and stay home.

      Telemedicine appointments are available at ARC and through NormanMD.com.

    • What should I do if I test negative for COVID-19

      Your COVID-19 test result is negative. However, this does not completely rule out infection with COVID-19. (Note: no lab test is 100% accurate. The COVID-19 is very accurate when positive, but a negative test is less certain). If you would like to consult with a doctor about your results, telemedicine appointments are available at ARC and through NormanMD.com.

      Negative test, no symptoms, exposed, vaccinated:

      If you haven't had symptoms and you were tested due to an exposure to a person with confirmed COVID-19 AND you have been boosted, or completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months, or completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months, you will no longer need to quarantine according to the CDC, but you need to:

      • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.
      • Test on day 5, if possible.
      • If you develop symptoms get a test and stay home.

      Negative test, no symptoms, exposed, unvaccinated/or not boosted:

      If you are unvaccinated or completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and are not boosted, or completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and are not boosted, you should:

      • Quarantine for 5 days, after that, continue to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days
      • Test on day 5, if possible.
      • If they develop symptoms get a test and stay home.

      For asymptomatic people in your household that are unvaccinated, or do not meet the vaccination criteria above, they will need to:

      • Quarantine for 5 days, after that, continue to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days
      • If they are unable to quarantine, they will need to wear a mask around others for 10 days
      • test on day 5 if possible
      • If they develop symptoms get a test and stay home.

      Negative test, no symptoms, no known exposure:

      If you haven't had symptoms and were tested for another reason (i.e. travel, work, medical procedure, or visitation requirements)

      • A negative test does not mean that you have not been exposed or that you will not develop COVID-19. Make sure to wear a mask, avoid crowds, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash your hands, and watch your health for signs of illness.
      • Keep a copy of your test results with you during travel. You may be asked for them.

      Negative test, but with symptoms:

      You may return to work/school/daycare if you are fever free for 24 hours and your symptoms are improving. If your doctor is more concerned about COVID because of your symptoms or a high-risk exposure, he/she may recommend doing a second COVID test in 24 hours. Either way, you should wear a mask for a minimum of 10 days.

      • If they develop symptoms get a test and stay home.
      • You can treat your symptoms with over-the-counter medications.
      • 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.
      • 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.

      Call the ARC 24/7 COVID-19 hotline at 866-453-4525 if you have emergency warning signs so your doctor can determine if we can care for you in our clinic or if you need to go to the ER. Emergency warning signs include:

      • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
      • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
      • New confusion or excessive sleepiness
      • Bluish lips or face

      For more information:

      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/10Things.pdf

      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/sick-with-2019-nCoV-fact-sheet.pdf 

      Telemedicine appointments are available at ARC and through NormanMD.com.

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

      The National Institute of Health (NIH) catalogs and summarizes the most up-to-date data on current COVID-19 treatments. It is best to speak to your doctor about available treatments in our community. Learn more.

      These treatments are available at this time in our area, all in limited quantity:

      • Monoclonal antibody treatment is available in limited supply at the Regional Infusion Center. You must be referred by your physician.
      • Paxlovid is currently available in very limited quantities, but we expect better availability over time. Paxlovid must be started within 5 days of symptom onset. 
      • Evusheld has Emergency Use Authorization for pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19 in patients 12 and over with moderate to severe immune compromise. You must be referred by your physician. 

      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.

    • What is Paxlovid and who can get it?

      Paxlovid is an investigational medicine used to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 with the following guidelines:

      • Adults and children -- 12 years of age and older weighing at least 88 pounds (40 kg)
      • Confirmed COVID-19 infection
      • Within 5 days of symptoms onset
      • High risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death, irrespective of vaccination status (For example: Immune-compromised, cancer, multiple advanced medical comorbidities, > 60 years old ...)

      Paxlovid is investigational because it is still being studied. There is limited information about the safety and effectiveness of using PAXLOVID to treat people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. There are guidelines of who should not take Paxlovid and important possible side effects as well. The FDA has authorized the emergency use of Paxlovid under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Download the FDA Paxlovid Fact Sheet.

      ARC doctors will begin prescribing Paxlovid when it becomes available in our community.

      Paxlovid is currently available in the area. ARC doctors can prescribe it for you if you meet the criteria listed above.  

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

      Treating yourself:

      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:

      • Follow CDC recommendations.
      • 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

      Keeping household members safe:

      • Practice heightened home hygiene to avoid spread in your household by doing the following:What is the ordinance for people who are sick with coronavirus disease?
      • Stay in a specific "sick room" or area and use a separate bathroom (if available).
      • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
      • Don't share household items like cups, towels, utensils. Sanitize those surfaces in common areas such as kitchens.
      • Wear a mask around other people if you are able.

      Call the ARC 24/7 COVID-19 hotline at 866-453-4525 if you have emergency warning signs so your doctor can determine if we can care for you in our clinic or if you need to go to the ER. Emergency warning signs include:

      • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
      • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
      • New confusion or excessive sleepiness
      • Bluish lips or face

      For more information:

      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/10Things.pdf 

      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/sick-with-2019-nCoV-fact-sheet.pdf 

       

    • 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.

    • Where can I get monoclonal infusion treatment for COVID-19?

      There is one type of Monoclonal Antibody Therapy (Sotrovimab- MAB) that is still presumed to be effective against Omicron. 

      MAB is available in the larger Austin area, but in limited quantities.

    • What is monoclonal infusion treatment and who can get it?

      The FDA has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for monoclonal antibody treatment to treat non-hospitalized adults and children 12 years of age and older. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies to restore, enhance, or mimic the immune system’s function to attack foreign cells, in this case the COVID-19 virus. These treatments attack a COVID-19 protein making it more difficult for the virus to attach to and enter human cells.

      Monoclonal antibody treatment is available in limited quantites in the Austin area. If you are at elevated risk of severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization, it is best to speak to your physician to determine the best course of action.

    • What is Evusheld and who can get it?

      Evusheld is an investigational medicine that has Emergency Use Authorization for use in adults and adolescents (12 years of age and older who weigh at least 88 pounds [40 kg]) for preexposure prophylaxis for prevention of COVID-19 in persons who are:

      • Not currently infected COVID-19 and 
        • Who have moderate to severe immune compromise or 
        • For whom vaccination with any available COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended.

      Austin Public Health administers Evusheld and has very strict criteria – check with your physician for more information. 

      Evusheld consists of two investigational medicines, tixagevimab and cilgavimab. It is administered as 1 dose consisting of 2 separate intramuscular injections.

      Learn more.

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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 of the COVID-19 test if I am uninsured?

      Insurance companies currently cover costs for tests. For patients without insurance, the cost of the test at ARC is $134 ($100 with our cash pay/discount).

    • 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 5 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 contact, they continue to work wearing an N95 mask, and test twice over several days if not vaccinated. If they have received all recommended vaccine doses, including booster, no quarantine is required per the CDC. 

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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 various COVID-19 vaccine and treatment studies. Please visit the COVID-19 Studies page for more information. To sign up, call 512-225-5931.

    • Is it risky to participate in a COVID-19 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.

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

      Call 512-225-5931 to sign up for the study. For more information, visit the COVID-19 Studies 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. Spread of COVID-19 occurs via airborne particles and droplets. People who are infected with COVID can release particles and droplets of respiratory fluids that contain the SARS CoV-2 virus into the air when they exhale (e.g., quiet breathing, speaking, singing, exercise, coughing, sneezing). 

      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. But, according to the CDC, children are as likely to be infected with COVID-19 as adults and can:

      • Get very sick from COVID-19
      • Have both short and long-term health complications from COVID-19
      • Spread COVID-19 to others, including at home and school

      Read more about COVID-19 and children.

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

      The CDC advises that pregnant people have no greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public. However, they recognize that pregnant people 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 people to protect themselves from illnesses.

      Read more about COVID-19 and pregnant people.

    • Is breastfeeding safe when a birth parent 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 birth with symptoms or with confirmed COVID-19 should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to their infant, including washing their 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 birth parent should wash their 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?

      People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

      • Fever of chills
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Fatigue
      • Muscle or body aches
      • Headaches
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Sore throat
      • Congestion or runny nose
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Diarrhea

      Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html 

    • 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.

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When to Seek Medical Care

    • When should I call my doctor?

      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. If you are eligible, this will also allow your physician to prescribe Monoclonal antibody treatment or Paxlovid.

      • Monoclonal antibody treatment is available in limited supply at the Regional Infusion Center. You must be referred by your physician. 
      • Paxlovid is currently available in very limited quantities, but we expect better availability over time. Paxlovid must be started within 5 days of symptom onset.

      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

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

       

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Prevention

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

      People, including children older than 2, should wear a mask in indoor public places if they are:

      • Not fully vaccinated 
      • Fully vaccinated and in an area with substantial or high transmission 
      • Fully vaccinated and with weakened immune systems

      In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings. But, in areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated. 

      Refer to your city or county Risk-Based Guidelines to confirm if further masking guidelines are in effect.  

      Mask guide.

    • 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

    • 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:

      • Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can. Schedule a vaccine.
      • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others. 
      • Stay 6 feet apart from others who don’t live with you.
      • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
      • Test to prevent spread to others. Schedule a test.
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available. 

      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?

      A few tips for attending local events include:

      • Being in crowded places like restaurants, bars, fitness centers, or movie theaters puts you at higher risk for COVID-19. Remember to mask, distance, and wash or sanitize hands frequently.
      • Avoid indoor spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors as much as possible.
      • If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible.

       

       

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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. As long as your employees have followed CDC Isolation protocol, they can return to work without a doctor’s note.

    • 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. 

      • Inside your home
        • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
        • If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
      • Outside your home 
        • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
        • Stay at least 6 feet from other people, especially if you are at higher risk of getting very sick.

      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