Whether Austin residents need to be alarmed about the rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas depends on who is speaking.

As Texas is setting new records for daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Governor Greg Abbott told Texans that the increasing number of hospitalizations is no cause for concern. He said there is no reason to be alarmed right now.

According to Gov. Abbott, Texas has plenty of hospital beds. The state is experiencing sharp increases in daily COVID-19 cases as it continues to move through Phase III to open Texas.

Austin Mayor Raises the Alarm

By contrast, Austin Mayor Steve Adler stated in an email that the City’s hospitals appear to be heading to an overwhelming surge in admissions. Mayor Adler said the warning light is turning orange, and the City had to make some decisions as it approaches the red zone.

The warning is according to the color-coded risk chart developed by the Austin Public Health (APH). As coronavirus rates continue to increase, the Austin metro area is moving from stage 3 to stage 4 on the chart. At stage four, restrictions are recommended to limit community spread of the virus.

Austin Moving to Stage 4 Risk Level

In the stage 4 risk level, the following recommendations apply:

  • Practice good hygiene;
  • Stay at home if you are sick;
  • Avoid people who are sick;
  • Maintain social distancing;
  • Wear face coverings;
  • Higher risk individuals should avoid social gatherings greater than two, avoid non-essential travel, and avoid dining out and shopping except as essential;
  • Lower risk individuals should also avoid non-essential travel, social gathering greater than 10; and avoid dining out and shopping except for expanded essential businesses; and,
  • Only expanded essential businesses remain open.

If Austin moves to stage five, the recommendations for everyone is to remain at home and do not gather with anyone outside of the household. Going out to dine or shop would only be for essential necessities. Essential businesses would be the only businesses open.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure how long the rise in COVID-19 cases may continue in Austin and throughout Texas. As the state continues to reopen and people return to normal schedules, the chance for COIVD-19 outbreaks may increase.

Austin residents can continue to follow the most recent developments in the area by accessing the information on the City’s website.

Free Public Coronavirus Testing Available

Austin residents who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may now schedule a no-cost COVID-19 test at a local Austin Public Health facility. The tests are drive-through, so people need to take the self-assessment online to begin the registration.

The self-assessment is available on the Austin Texas website. After answering a few questions about your symptoms, you can sign up for drive-thru testing if you are eligible. Results from the COVID-19 test are available online in about three to four days after the test.

COVID-19 Symptoms – Learn the Updated Symptoms of the Coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control continues to update the list of coronavirus symptoms as health officials learn more about the deadly virus. You can access a list of the symptoms on the CDC website.

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Chills or Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Body aches or muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • New loss of smell or taste
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Symptoms may appear any time from two days up until 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms are different from some individuals. Some people may only experience mild symptoms and may not have all of the symptoms on the list.

Individuals can use the self-checker on the CDC guideline to determine if they may be experiencing signs of coronavirus.

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention

Do not use the self-check if you experience any of the following emergency warning signs of COVID-19:

  • Trouble breathing
  • New confusion
  • Bluish face or lips
  • Persistent pressure or pain in the chest
  • Inability to stay awake or wake up

If you or someone in your home has any of the above emergency warning signs, obtain emergency medical care immediately. You can call 911 or go to your local emergency facility.

Coronavirus Spreads Quickly – Do Your Part to Stop the Spread

COVID-19 spreads mainly from person-to-person. Staying home as much as possible is the best way to reduce your risk of being exposed to the virus. When you do go out, maintain social distancing, and follow guidelines regarding face coverings.

When you do go out, remember to practice safety measures to avoid other accidents and injuries. Distracted driving because of face masks can cause car accidents. Also, adjusting masks while walking can cause slips and falls if you are not careful.