Williamson, Travis counties issue health orders to healthcare facilities with new COVID-19 guidelines

Both Williamson and Travis counties have issued health authority orders to healthcare facilities. Local doctors have new guidelines they must follow to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Things are changing and I think for good reason,” said Dr. Murray Snook, a family doctor in Georgetown.

Before FOX 7 could interview Dr. Snook at his clinic, everyone had to get their temperatures taken well before entering the building. This is something everyone, from patients to employees, must do now following a recent health authority order issued by the county following the recent announcement of COVID-19 cases.

RELATED: Austin Regional Clinic launches COVID-19 hotline, other safety protocols

The order lists guidelines all healthcare facilities, like the one Dr. Snook works at, must follow. Travis County has also issued a similar order.

“We've already been implementing some of these steps from the beginning, it's nice to get some feedback from the county as to what else do they need us to do,” said Dr. Snook.

RELATED: Williamson County closes all offices to the public to reduce spread of COVID-19
The order states the facility must check everyone's symptoms before they enter the building. People experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must not enter the building unless they are patients. Employees must have their temperatures monitored throughout their shift.

“If anyone has a fever elevated above 100.4 then we have to self-quarantine,” said Dr. Snook. They must also report any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to the health district.

RELATED: Austin-Travis County provides update on response to COVID-19
Dr. Snook said he's never received a notice like this in his 27 years in Georgetown but understands what the county is trying to do, which is to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.

“I believe that if we all work together from healthcare providers to my patience to my staff and other support I think we will weather the storm and come out better prepared for the next virus that comes along,” said Dr. Snook. So far Dr. Snook said they haven't seen any confirmed cases of COVID-19 at his office.

Any healthcare facility which doesn’t follow these new guidelines is subject to fines.

RELATED: Austin-Travis County adopt new orders to align with statewide restrictions concerning COVID-19

On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a public health disaster, the first in Texas since 1901. The executive orders, which take effect at midnight Friday, March 20 and go through midnight on Friday, April 3, will bring the state in line with CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

RELATED: CoronavirusNOW.com, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates

The public health disaster orders schools to be closed statewide until at least April 3. The disaster also orders a ban on dine-in eating and gathering in groups of more than 10 as the state ramps up efforts to battle the coronavirus. Abbott's order also will shut down gyms and bars. It also bans visits to nursing and retirement homes unless there is a critical need.



FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 1 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.

You can watch live in your FOX 7 Austin app or on the FOX 7 Austin Facebook page.

You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.