New Austin-Travis County campaign urges college students to stay home, stay safe

Actor Matthew McConaughey, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhart have teamed up to draw attention to the City and County’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The latest city-county campaign is urging young adults, especially college students to stay home except for essential activities and to maintain a six-foot radius from everyone if needing to go outside.

"The Community is doing really well but as good as we’re doing, it’s not good enough,” said Adler. “You can get this virus, not feel any of it, and be infecting other people. We really need people in our community to stay at home, spend time with those you love. It’s going to take all of us together.”

Forty-four students from the University of Texas at Austin have tested positive for the virus and are self-isolating as of April 1. Initially, 28 students had tested positive.

RELATED: 44 UT Austin students have COVID-19 after spring break trip

Two weeks ago, the Austin Public Health Department began an investigation after a cluster of positive COVID-19 cases formed after a group of young travelers returned from a spring break vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Approximately 70 people in their 20’s departed in a chartered plane for a spring break trip, amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to APH.

“The virus doesn’t spread unless we spread it,” said McConaughey. “If you feel great, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the virus and can't spread it. Take care of yourself and you’ll be taking care of others. No matter how good you feel, stay home if you can. If there’s a city that can come together and build for a better tomorrow, it’s Austin, Texas.”

RELATED: People in Austin ignoring stay home order, gathering in groups

Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, dry cough and shortness of breath should call their health care provider or use telehealth resources before visiting a hospital or urgent care clinic. Individuals who are uninsured or without an established provider can call the CommUnity Care COVID-19 Hotline at 512-978-8775 for guidance.

A healthcare provider will determine if there is another plausible diagnosis with similar symptoms. 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.

APH continues to stress the importance of practicing good personal hygiene and maintaining social distance during essential activities to disrupt the spread of the virus. Proper hygiene practices include: 

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces


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