AUSTIN, Texas - The first City of Austin and Travis County COVID-19 coronavirus testing collection point has started operations on Saturday, March 21.
The testing site is one of 11 test collections sites with a public-private partnership between Austin Public Health (APH), St. David’s, Ascension Seton, UT Health Austin (Dell Medical School) and Baylor Scott & White, according to a press release form the city.
This site will focus on gathering information and tests city and countywide, prioritizing individuals who are sent by referral and those who have appointments. According to the city, those without referrals will be given information on how they can be referred so they can go through the proper channels.
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“We have to prioritize those who are at higher risk, hospitalized, our health care workers, first responders, and those who work in critical infrastructure to ensure that they have access because it's important for the public health and safety of our City,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Health Authority for Austin-Travis County.
Under criteria laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services, prioritization is given to individuals with a specific combination of symptoms combined with risk factors such as travel, close contact with confirmed cases, or underlying health conditions.
APH GUIDE FOR POTENTIAL PATIENTS:
1. If you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), avoid the risk of spread at clinics and hospitals by using telehealth virtual visits (see a list of services here) or calling your health provider.
2. Your physician will determine if there is another plausible diagnosis with similar symptoms (i.e. influenza). People with no insurance and no established provider experiencing Coronavirus-like symptoms should call CommUnityCare at 512-978-8775. CommUnityCare will triage people over the phone and send them to the appropriate location.
3. For suspected COVID-19 cases, your doctor will fill out a form. Austin Public Health will use this information to assess risk and criteria to determine whether a test is appropriate. You will be notified on whether you qualify for a test and will be provided with a test-site location. Until then, stay at home and self-distance.
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The city also states that private healthcare providers may be testing on their own and that patients should contact their doctor's office for further guidance.
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