Concerns Regarding Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19)

Updated 8/19/2021 2:31 PM

At Partners in Health, our highest priority is the health and safety of our patients and staff. We are closely monitoring the situation and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), public health authorities (Austin Public Health), and federal, state, and local orders. Our office has implemented multiple precautionary measures following their recommendations for public safety to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Vaccine

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently authorized for those aged 18 and up. The Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for those aged 12 and up. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the CDC website. If you are fully vaccinated, find new guidance for fully vaccinated people.

The CDC now recommends that people whose immune systems are compromised moderately to severely should receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses. This recommendation is only for individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. There is not enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine.

Appointments and walk-ins for the COVID-19 vaccine are available at local pharmacies. Please contact your local pharmacy or visit the following links on where to find a vaccine:

  • Austin Public Health
    • In Travis County, a mobile vaccine program has been implemented for homebound patients. Homebound patients seeking the COVID-19 vaccine can contact Austin Public Health to request a home visit. To do so, please call 3-1-1 or (512) 974-2000 and provide your name and return phone number.
  • UT Health Austin
  • Listing of vaccine providers in Austin

Sites for Testing (Please be aware that some testing sites will require an appointment, including our office. Patients must be established in order to test in our office. The types of tests available will vary with each location. Should any of our patients get tested outside of our office, please notify us)

Serology (Antibody) Testing for COVID-19

Serology testing cannot be used to make a diagnosis of active COVID-19 since antibody production is not present at detectable levels until several days after symptom onset. Only molecular testing should be used to make the diagnosis of active COVID-19. Antibody testing is NOT currently recommended by the FDA nor the CDC to assess immunity after COVID-19 vaccination.

What we are Doing to Protect our Clinical Environment from COVID-19 Exposure

We are committed to doing everything we can to continue providing quality care to our patients while taking every precaution to limit the exposure of our patients and staff to COVID-19. In doing so, we are implementing the following measures in our office for the time being:

  • Our appointments are staggered to allow for time to thoroughly disinfect and sanitize each exam room. We encourage our patients to schedule and stay up to date with their annual wellness exams, as it remains a vital part of reducing your risk of getting sick and living a longer, healthier life.
  • All consultations and illnesses will first be evaluated via a virtual visit (also known as telemedicine), which is available for our established patients. Please call (512) 453-3542 or email to schedule a virtual visit appointment. Virtual visits include phone call, text, FaceTime, Zoom, or other means of video chat. Our patients can also reach Dr. Rhodes directly outside of our office hours. A virtual visit will allow us to determine the best location for you to be evaluated. In some cases, a phone call may allow you to avoid an in-person evaluation, which helps minimize exposure to the public.
  • All patients, visitors, and staff members are screened daily for symptoms related to COVID-19 (including temperature) prior to entering our facility.
  • We are restricting visitor access into our office. For your safety and ours, we ask that all caregivers, family members, and friends of our patients to wait in their cars during patient appointments.
  • We are requiring all individuals to keep their face covering on.
  • We are not hosting any in-person events until it is safe to do so. Please check our website for activities held through our online meeting platform, Zoom.

What You can do to Protect Yourself and Others

By doing your part, you can make a big difference to your health and the health of others around you. Everyone has a role to play to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to help prevent our health care system from becoming overwhelmed, rendering it unable to care for critical patients. As we know, most people who become infected with COVID-19 experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth, which may contain viruses. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before and after eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-base hand rub. Cleaning your hands kills viruses that may be on them.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Your hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This includes covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of used tissues immediately to prevent spread of the virus via droplets. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as the cold, flu, and COVID-19.
  • Regularly clean frequently touched objects and surfaces with a disinfectant to kill the virus. This includes your faucets, counters, doorknobs, desks, computer keyboards, soap dispensers, toilet seats, and light switches. This also includes your cell phone and the steering wheel of your car. If you think a surface may be contaminated, clean it. Surfaces can harbor potential pathogens and may act as a source of infectious agents.
  • Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. National and local authorities will have the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 in our area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves. Please see the links above.

Ongoing Updates

Partners in Health is committed to protecting the safety and health of our patients and our staff, and their families. The measures we are taking in our office will keep our environment safe in order to continue caring for our patients. For more information, please visit our blog. We will continuously monitor the situation and keep this page updated for you. Thank you for your continued cooperation to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Dr. Rhodes is just an amazing doctor. I have moved around the past few years unfortunately not being able to see her as my regular physician. However, once I moved a little bit closer to her I made sure to make her my physician again. She and her new staff have been amazing and she is very responsive and takes to time to listen to your issues or questions you never feel rushed.”

– Fabian M.