About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that is spreading from person to person. The virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person speaks, sings, coughs or sneezes.
The COVID-19 virus is not that same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
Mild symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, headache, runny nose, loss of sense of smell/taste, sore throat, and/or diarrhea. If you have mild symptoms you should seek testing.
Call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room if you have severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion, fever that doesn't respond to medication.
A printable version of Seeking Care During COVID-19 flyer is available in English (PDF), Spanish (PDF), Chinese Simplified (PDF), Chinese Traditional (PDF), Vietnamese (PDF), Arabic (PDF), Urdu (PDF), Burmese (PDF), Korean (PDF)
Flu vs. COVID-19
Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. For more information visit Flu in Austin (Influenza) or register for a free COVID-19 test for yourself or a loved one.
Schedule a COVID-19 Test
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate and take an online assessment to register for a free test. You can take the assessment and schedule a test for yourself or a loved one.
If You Test Positive
Help prevent the spread of disease by staying home except to get medical care; call ahead before visiting your doctor; and monitor your symptoms. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Avoid sharing personal items
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean your hands often
- Clean all high-touch surfaces every day
A printable flyer on Steps to Prevent Spread is available in English, Spanish (PDF), Vietnamese (PDF), Chinese Simplified (PDF), Chinese Traditional (PDF), Korean (PDF), Urdu (PDF), Burmese(PDF), and Arabic (PDF)
Contact Tracing: If you test positive, a case-worker may reach out to you.
- APH case investigators will never ask for Social Security, Medicaid, insurance, immigration, or financial information.
- If you believe you are receiving a scam call, request the name, title, and call back number and you can verify the information with the City of Austin by calling 311 to ask for that person.
- Contact tracing helps prevent further transmission of COVID-19 by identifying, monitoring and supporting individuals who have been exposed.
- Three basic steps of contact tracing
Contact tracing can be broken down into 3 basic steps:
- Contact identification: Once someone is confirmed to be infected with the virus, contacts are identified by asking about the person’s activities and roles of the people around them since the onset of their illness. Contacts can be anyone who has been in contact with an infected person: family members, work colleagues, friends, or health care providers.
- Contact listing: Efforts should be made to identify every listed contact and to inform them of: their contact status, what it means, the actions that will follow, and the importance of receiving early care if they develop symptoms. Contacts should also be provided with information about prevention of the disease.
- Contact follow-up: Regular follow-up should be conducted with all contacts to monitor for symptoms and test for signs of infection
When to Quarantine
If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and were not wearing a mask OR you live with or work in a setting with people who are at high risk for severe disease, you should quarantine for the full 14 days. If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and were wearing a mask and do not live with or work in a setting with people who are at high risk for severe disease, the following guidance applies:
- Quarantine for 10 days, monitoring your symptoms OR quarantine for 7 days, monitoring your symptoms AND receive a negative COVID-19 test on or after day the 5th day following exposure.
- If you are a healthcare worker or first responder, quarantine for 7 days, monitoring your symptoms AND receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test result on or after the 7th day of exposure.
If you develop symptoms during your quarantine period and test positive for COVID-19, you need to self-isolate for at least 10 days since symptoms onset and for at least 1 day following the resolution of fever and improvement of other symptoms.
Protect Yourself and Your Community
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water an unavailable.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Practice social distancing and avoiding gatherings and non-essential trips.
- Wear a face covering when in public
Anyone can get COVID-19, but the risk increases with age. You are also at higher risk of severe illness if you have underlying medical conditions including asthma, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, severe obesity, and/or a weakened immune system.
A printable version of a Chronic Disease and COVID-19 flyer is available in English (PDF), Spanish (PDF), Simplified Chinese (PDF), Traditional Chinese (PDF), Vietnamese (PDF), Burmese (PDF), Korean (PDF), Arabic (PDF) and Urdu (PDF)
Need a Place to safely distance due to COVID-19?
Austin & Travis County have established a hotel facility, which provides free lodging and services for those that do not have the ability to safely distance due to COVID-19. Learn more about free lodging at a hotel for those who need to safely distance, including who is eligible and who to contact.
Returning to Work
APH echoes recommendations from the CDC on guidance for individuals who have had COVID-19 on returning to work. Current health guidelines require individuals stay home:
— At least 10 days following the onset of COVID-19 symptoms;
— AND At least one day following the resolution of fever; WITH Improvement of other symptoms.
Employees should refrain from reporting to work if they meet any of the following criteria and self-quarantine. You may submit the following letters to your employer that contain additional details and information.
Convalescent Plasma Donation
We Are Blood is actively collecting convalescent plasma donations from individuals who have had a clinical history of COVID-19 and have fully recovered from a COVID-19 infection. This plasma is being used to treat patients currently fighting COVID-19.