Austin Public Testing Enrollment Form Now Available
Austin Public Health launched the Austin Public Testing Enrollment Form, which allows the community to complete an online assessment for COVID-19. This new tool allows the public to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms without having to see their physician. Please be aware that criteria for testing must be met. Should any of our patients get tested, please notify our office. Please also notify our office with your results if you are tested.
Governor Abbott’s Strike Force to Open Texas
Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference on April 17, 2020 where he issued three new Executive Orders to begin the process of reopening the state of Texas while revising hospital capacity and certain social distancing guidelines. Within the orders, select activities and services that pose minimal to no threat of spreading COVID-19 are allowed to reopen beginning today, April 24, 2020, using a “Retail-To-Go” model. Certain restrictions on surgeries have been loosened, and schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Within these orders, the Governor established the Strike Force to Open Texas – a team of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders who will advise the Governor on safely and strategically reopening the state of Texas.
Texas State Parks Re-Open
Texas State Parks began reopening for day-use only on April 20, 2020 as part of a broader effort to begin reopening the state of Texas. New restrictions in effect include requiring visitors to make reservations and paying ahead of time, wearing face coverings, maintaining 6 feet distance from individuals outside of their party, and prohibiting the gathering of groups larger than five. Please see the Texas State Parks website for more information.
Reminder About Serology (Antibody) Testing for COVID-19
At this time, serology testing is not recommended. The majority of tests are still currently undergoing review by the FDA, and 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 (see graph below). Only molecular testing should be used to make the diagnosis of active COVID-19. For more information, please see our blog post.
Please keep in mind that as the state of Texas slowly begins to reopen businesses, we still encourage our patients to stay home as much as possible, especially those who are over 70 and those with lung disease, heart disease, hypertension, and/or diabetes (also known as cocooning). Social distancing guidelines are still in place. Per city mandate, face coverings are required anytime an individual has to leave their residence. As the situation evolves, we will provide ongoing updates.