This is a community resource consolidated from several sites and we are trying our best to stay ahead of changes. Please let us know if there is an issue with the information provided so that we can update as needed. We use the CDC, WHO, City of Austin, and Austin Public Health sites as our main medical information sources. We are not medical professionals. If you want to visit the city website, please click here
Status of Coronavirus Testing in Austin
Currently, the City of Austin has a limited number of coronavirus tests and is prioritizing testing for those who are considered high-risk for complications from the virus. This is a huge concern for us and we are advocating for more test kits. The entire US has a short supply of test kits. Some people are being denied tests and Austin Public Health is evaluating the situation every day to try and streamline the process.
I think I might have COVID-19 symptoms. What do I do?
First, review your symptoms. The most common symptoms of coronavirus infection are:
- Fever or 99.6 or higher
- Dry cough
- Phlegm (mucus that you cough up)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle and joint pain and aches
- Sore throat
Less common symptoms include chills, vomiting, stuffed nose, and diarrhea
If you have these symptoms, the most important thing to do is stay home and call a doctor!! Staying at home will keep you from spreading the virus to others. Calling a doctor is important so they can evaluate your symptoms. There are different resources available depending on your insurance status (see below). The doctor will also help determine if you need to get tested. As always, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. If you have one, please put on a face mask before emergency medical personnel arrives.
I do have symptoms and I have private insurance. How do I get tested?
If you have access to the internet, you can take an online screening questionnaire that will determine if you need to go to a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site. You do not need to call the COVID-19 hotline. Patients can complete this free online screening questionnaire, available through Baylor Scott and White. A little bit of what to expect below:
- You will need to create an account. You can expedite the process by linking your cell phone to create your portfolio.
- You must accept the terms and agreements on the site.
- Take the survey. If you show COVID-19 symptoms, they will email you a confirmation number to go take the test via the drive-thru location. They will send you the location and request that you bring an ID.
- If you are not showing symptoms, they will not send you a confirmation ID and you will not be allowed to go to the drive-thru center. If you do show up, they will turn you away.
- Please see below for a description of the testing process at the drive-thru center.
You can also call your physician if you have private insurance and book an appointment. You can also view some of the Telehealth options towards the bottom of this page. If your physician turns you away for a test and you feel that you need a test and are showing symptoms, you can call 311 ask for a nurse and explain that your physician does not have a test and/or has refused to test you.
I do have symptoms and I am uninsured. How do I get tested?
If you live in Travis County, have symptoms of coronavirus, but do not have insurance or a doctor, call the COVID-19 Hotline at 512-978-8775. This is also the number for MAP and current CommunityCare patients. The number is staffed by medical professionals and is open 8am – 5pm Monday – Friday.
Do not call this number if you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. There is a separate number for non-COVID-19 medical assistance below.
You do not have to have insurance to get tested for COVID-19. However, in order to be tested, you must call the hotline first and answer questions about your risk. If you are rated moderate or high risk, you will receive a testing confirmation email and further directions for the drive-thru test center.
What can I expect at the drive-thru testing center?
Austin Public Health has confirmed that all tests for COVID-19 are free for those with or without insurance. However, you need a confirmation number to be able to get a test. (See above.)
Bring a copy of your test confirmation email (either print the email out or have the email available on your mobile phone) and your ID to the testing drive-thru site. Once you are tested, you should receive results within 24-48 hours. If you go to the drive-thru without receiving this confirmation, you will be turned away. When you arrive to the drive-thru, please make sure to have your window rolled up. This is for the safety of the medical staff. You can communicate with the professionals via the window by showing your ID and confirmation. Once you are verified to take the test, you will be moved to the second stage of the drive-thru where they will conduct the physical test. The test consists of a nasal swab, after which you are sent home to wait for results.
What happens after my test?
While you wait for results, continue to follow your doctor’s advice. Monitor your symptoms and stay in touch with your doctor. Continue to practice social distancing. If you have one, wear a mask to protect other members of your household. Otherwise, cover your cough with a tissue and immediately dispose of it. Remember to practice good hand hygiene and avoid touching your face to avoid contaminating objects that might be touched by other people. If your symptoms worsen and/or you experience trouble breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, inability to wake up, or bluish lips or face, call 911.
I do not have transportation. How can I get to the test center?
First, follow the steps above to determine if you need to go to the test center. If you are told to go through a drive-thru facility after showing moderate to high risk symptoms, do not take Capital Metro to the drive-thru. You may expose others. Tell the representative on the COVID-19 Hotline at 512-978-8775 that you do not have transportation and work with them to arrange transportation. If you still need assistance, please call 311. 311 will accommodate and identify someone to bring you to the facility. 311 is experiencing higher than usual call times. Right now, we are working with Austin Public Health on streamlining the process for those without transportation.
What happens after I get my results?
Once you receive results, please discuss next steps with your doctor.
We know this process might be overwhelming right now. We hear you, and are asking questions of health officials every day. We need your feedback. Please message us some of the barriers you are receiving here. Right now, we are looking to see how to direct people to the correct city resources who don’t have access to transportation and those that need testing that don’t have access to the internet.
Additional Health Resources and Considerations during the Coronavirus Pandemic
It is important for all of us to have access to health care for non-coronavirus related issues as well. Many doctors are offering telemedicine so that you can have a doctor appointment at home. There are also options for those without insurance or those in danger of losing insurance due to unemployment to enroll in assistance programs.
- Uninsured, insured, MAP, and current CommunityCare patients needing medical assistance with non-COVID-19 issues can call 512-978-9015 Monday-Friday between 8AM and 5PM for assistance with making telehealth appointments through CommunityCare. Please note that several CommunityCare locations have temporarily closed to consolidate services, so it is important to call first. Note: Austin Public Health is trying to figure out a process to assist MAP patients who do not have the ability to do a Telehealth appointment. There is a current gap in their infrastructure that they are working to fix.
- Central Health’s Medical Access Program (MAP) and MAP BASIC cover medical care for qualifying Travis County residents who are low income, not eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare and do not have private insurance. Individuals enrolled in MAP can see a doctor, get medicine, and after this pandemic, can see a dentist. Every person in your family who is eligible will get a MAP identification card. To find out if you quality and begin the process, please call 512-978-8130 Monday – Friday between 8 am and 5 pm. Right now, there are long wait times to get serviced. Sometimes you will experience your call drop because of how many people are calling. You should not call this line to be serviced for COVID-19 symptoms. This is for people that are trying to get insured. The MAP team will walk through your application process on the phone. You will have to complete an application, provide supporting documents, and complete a phone interview. More details are here with the application form here.
Please let us know if you know of someone who doesn’t have access to a computer or printer to receive the application by messaging us here. We are currently working on a partnership with AISD to distribute packet information which will include the MAP application with the documentation required for families who are coming to the food distribution sites.
- If you already have MAP coverage you can now access their online urgent care app via Ascension. More information here.
- Affordable Care Act Insurance. People who have lost their health insurance due to unemployment, could get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace. The Health Insurance Marketplace offers special enrollment periods for:
- Loss of qualifying health coverage – job loss
- Changes in household income – meaning loss of a job
- Changes in your household size –
- Change in residence – you moved. lost your place, etc.
- Change in status – you got married, divorced, widowed. etc.
If you are currently enrolled in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan, and your income changes, contact the Marketplace to report the change. You could be eligible for a tax credit. Call 1-800-318-2596 or visit healthcare.gov.
- Foundation Communities also provides assistance with Health Insurance Marketplace applications (by appointment over the phone). Below are various ways you can schedule appointments for assistance to determine if you have qualifying events and are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period:
- Changes to Community Care Services
- Starting March 23, 2020, CommunityCare Central Pharmacy located at Southeast Health & Wellness Center will be providing curb side drop off of medicine for CUC Pharmacy patients. Call 512-978-8139 for more info.
- CommUnityCare Health Centers are consolidating services by temporarily closing some smaller clinics to ensure the safety of their workers and the community members coming to the facilities.Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, health care services at the following clinics will be closed:
- Austin OB Manor-1408 Shadowglen, Hwy 290, Ste. 302, Manor, TX
- Austin OB Riverside-2410 E Riverside Dr., Ste. G-2, Austin, TX
- Carousel Pediatrics May’s Crossing-1201 S. IH-35, Ste 303, Round Rock, TX
- Del Valle Health Center-3518-A FM 973, Del Valle, TX
- Dove Springs Integral Care-5015 South IH-35, Austin, TX
- Hornsby Bend Health Center-1412 Hunters Bend Road, Austin, TX
- Manor Health Center-600 W Carrie Manor St, Manor, TX
Additionally, medical staff with CommUnityCare’s mobile unit, which provides services in Colony Park and Creedmoor, have been reassigned to other locations as part of the COVID-19 response. For a list of CommUnityCare clinics and hours of operation, visit CommUnityCare, or call 512-978-9015.
- Telehealth Services Healthcare providers are encouraging patients experiencing covid-like symptoms to use telemedicine/telehealth for the safety of medical workers and fellow patients. Some of these services that have been set up for COVID-19 response are listed below. Your insurance provider may have also sent details on telehealth options.
- Baylor Scott & White
- Visit their website or to install the app on your mobile device, simply text BETTER to 88408 to have it sent to your phone. No appointment is needed.
- Visit their website to download the app. Use the code HOME for a $20 cost per visit, and no appointment is needed.
- Visit their website to sign-up for a free account.
- Visit their website to set-up an account or download their app. The cost of a Teladoc visit depends on your health plan, with everyday care costing less than $49.
- Visit their website to download the app. A visit on HeyDoc costs the patient between $10 and $50.
- Televero Health
- Visit their website to schedule a consultation with a Critical Care M.D. or Behavioral Health professional.
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