Coronavirus Resources

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COVID-19 Testing Options

Austin, Texas – The barrier of needing the internet to register for a COVID-19 assessment is now addressed with a nursing hotline to help with testing enrollment. Austin Public Health (APH) is making testing more accessible by rolling out mobile testing in neighborhoods where residents may have difficulty visiting a drive-thru testing location or Community Care clinic. People with COVID-19 symptoms or who are COVID-19 positive and do not have a place to safely isolate may utilize a free City of Austin Isolation Facility, ISOFAC (video links from pool reporters available below). 

To reduce the technology barrier to accessing testing, APH has expanded public testing enrollment to its nursing hotline. Those wishing to complete the COVID-19 Public Testing Enrollment Form via phone should call 512-972-5560 to complete their assessment. Once they complete the assessment interview, the call taker will assist them in scheduling a test. The hours of the nurse hotline are 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday.  

Online enrollment remains open at austintexas.gov/COVID-19.  

“COVID-19 testing is a vital resource for residents of Austin-Travis County,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “By offering assessments over the phone and utilizing mobile testing, we are continuing to fight a virus that has proven to be nondiscriminatory based on access to the internet or a mode of transportation.” 

In addition to expanding assessment capabilities, APH is making COVID-19 testing available to a broader section of the Austin-Travis County community by offering mobile testing with pop-up testing and home testing options.  

Pop-up Testing 

APH is partnering with CommUnityCare to develop a joint map and process to ensure that mobile testing efforts are conducted in targeted zip codes that are historically under served. Pop-up testing sites are being determined based on areas with high positivity rates, low testing rates, and community feedback for desired locations. Pop-up testing is expected to start in the next couple of weeks.  

Pop-up testing locations, which will be visiting the same areas multiple times per week, will be shared at austintexas.gov/COVID-19 and on social media once available. Additionally, the pop-up testing locations will be listed as testing site options when individuals fill out the online assessment form or call the nursing hotline for enrollment. 

Home Testing 

Home testing units will allow medical professionals to administer tests in the patient’s home, helping to limit person-to-person spread by keeping potentially-infected residents quarantined at home.  

Home-bound or transportation-limited individuals can call the nursing hotline (512-972-5560) starting Thursday, June 18 to schedule a home test. Home testing is still in its pilot phase, and availability of this program may change in the future based on staff capacity and public demand.  

Isolation Facility 

Austin-Travis County has an isolation facility (ISOFAC) set up at a hotel for people who cannot safely self-isolate at home (e.g. tight living quarters with family members). This option is available to patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as people who are under monitoring or investigation for the virus. 

Individuals wishing to stay at the ISOFAC should call the intake line at 512-810-7554 to make arrangements. Residents may be required to provide proof of testing status if they did not enroll with APH for testing. 

Individuals eligible to stay at the ISOFAC are not charged for the service. Patients who stay at an ISOFAC have their own free hotel room with food and WiFi. 

Two pool reporters toured the ISOFAC today and have provided footage of an interview with staff in English and Spanish, as well as b-roll from the facility.  

Public Testing Enrollment Numbers 

Since the Public Testing Enrollment Form launched at the end of April, more than 33,000 assessments have been completed. As of June 16 at 9 a.m., nearly 17,100 individuals have been scheduled for and/or completed a test. 
   
Test results for 8,264 individuals show 458 patients tested positive for COVID-19 (5.54% positive rate). This only includes data from the APH testing site. 

For more information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19

Austin & Travis County have established an Isolation Facility, which provides free lodging and services for those that do not have the ability to safely self-isolate due to COVID-19.

From Austin Public Health, Recommendations for Households Living in Close Quarters.

Information for people who just got tested for COVID-19 and what guidelines you should follow:

Technology Resources for Older Adults

Access Wi-fi

EveryoneOn is a nonprofit dedicated to creating social and economic opportunity by connecting low-income families to affordable internet service and computers, and delivering digital skills training. https://www.everyoneon.org/

Devices

Free Facebook Portals for Veterans

Austin Free Net www.austinfree.net  (through their partnership with Ruckify)

Training

OATS (Senior Planet)- Older Adult Technology Services https://seniorplanet.org/get-involved/online/ (for online programs)

Austin Free Net www.austinfree.net

Tech Boomers- https://techboomers.com/ 100+ free courses online

Digital Learn https://training.digitallearn.org/ Basic tutorials for computers, email etc

They will only test people with symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. Symptoms include: Cough, shortness of breath, fever, sore throat. Testing is free for the uninsured, if you have insurance they will bill the insurance company. No appointment or doctor’s referral needed. Walk-up testing available. COVID-19 Hotline- 512-978-8775.
COVID-19 and Behavioral Health Resources From Texas Health & Human Services      

Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional changes due to the pandemic can seek help from these resources.  

The new COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans. Call 1-833-986-1919 to reach a mental health professional.  

2-1-1 connects people with the resources they need across Texas. Search easy-to-find information from state and local health and human services programs. You may also find the Local Mental Health Authority in your area by entering “Mental Health Crisis,” along with your Zip code, in the search engine.   

Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text TX to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. to text with a trained crisis counselor.  

Outreach, Screening, Assessment, and Referral (OSAR) Centers may be the first point of contact for people seeking substance use disorder treatment services. Texans seeking services and information may qualify for services based on need.   

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers a helpful COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide (PDF) for individuals with questions or concerns related to COVID-19.  

National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) represents the nation’s agencies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, providing services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.   NASDDDS features COVID-19 disaster toolkits and other federal resources (PDF).   The Arc is greatly concerned about the threat of COVID-19 to people with disabilities, their families, and the workforce that supports them. The Arc offers a list of resources to help people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD), their families and service providers to understand this global pandemic.  

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) works to improve the lives of older adults and individuals with disabilities through services, research and education. ACL offers COVID-19 resources specifically for individuals with disabilities.   For plain language information on COVID-19, visit Self Advocacy Info, which provides a COVID-19 booklet (PDF) written by and for people with disabilities.  

Learn how to reduce stress in yourself and others.        
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