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  • March 15, 2020 8:12 PM | Jacqueline Izaguirre (Administrator)

    What you need to know about COVID-19

    What is COVID-19?
    COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.

    What are the symptoms?
    Most people, especially children and those under 60 with no chronic medical conditions, who contract COVID-19 develop very mild symptoms that include fever, a dry cough, and fatigue. A minority of people will develop more advanced symptoms such as shortness of breath.
    The World Health Organization (WHO) found that nasal congestion occurs in only 4.8% of patients and runny nose in almost no one. Some people, usually with additional medical complications, can develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia.

    What are the emergency warning signs and symptoms of COVID-19?
    If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately.

    Emergency warning signs* include:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
    *This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

    Do I need to go to the ER?
    No, if you don't have any emergency warning signs. Call your primary doctor at the first sign of symptoms. This will help limit the spread of the virus in our community. It will also allow emergency departments to care for patients with the most critical needs first.

    How can I protect myself and my family?
    Everyday preventive measures are effective; the same ones that prevent the spread of colds and the flu:
    • Stay home if you are sick. Self-isolation, until your symptoms resolve and up to 14 days helps to prevent spreading, especially avoid contact with those over 60 and/or with additional serious chronic medical conditions
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Put your used tissue in a waste basket and wash your hands. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Practice social distancing by avoiding large crowds.
    • Avoid handshakes, hugs, and kisses.
    • Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    • Avoid non-essential travel.

    How important is it to practice social distancing now?
    We should be practicing social distancing now that we have known cases in Texas, to minimize the spread of the virus. When we stay away from many people we deprive the virus the opportunity to move from one person to another. What does that mean in everyday actions?
    • Stay at home as much as possible.
    • Avoid gathering in public places.
    • Get your exercise outside rather than in a space with groups of people.
    • Take advantage of grocery delivery and pick-up services or shop when it is less crowded. Keep 6 -10 feet away from other people.
    • Avoid handshakes, hugs, and kisses.

    Social distancing feels awkward and unnatural. We are social beings who need human interaction, so this call to distance ourselves from each other will be difficult. It has proved successful in places like Hong Kong and Singapore where they were able to flatten out the curve, unlike in Italy where it has overwhelmed their healthcare resources. The best we can do is learn from others' success.

    Image Description:
    This graph, adapted from the CDC, shows the difference between the number of sick people if we DON'T take steps to reduce the number of people who contract the virus versus if we DO take those steps, like Social Distancing. There is a threshold where hospitals have enough space to care for very sick people. If we do not take those steps, hospitals will become overwhelmed, and they will not be able to care for those who need emergency treatment, and more people could die. If we can decrease the peak number of people who are all sick at the same time, the hospitals can care for everyone. 

    Can anybody get tested for COVID-19?
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations are to test high-risk patients with fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, and travel from the infected areas or exposure to a positive COVID-19 patient.

    Where do I go to get tested if I have fever, dry cough, and suspect COVID-19?
    Book an appointment with your primary doctor or urgent care clinic by phone or online, and notify the schedulers about your symptoms and why you suspect COVID-19. You may be asked to place a mask when arriving to the clinic unless you have one already. If you are deemed high risk, your care team may swab your nose and throat in their offices and send the samples to one of the labs that run the test.

    How much does the test cost?
    Right now the state labs are not charging patients for the test. Most insurance plans have said they will cover the tests at commercial labs. Please check with your insurance provider for confirmation.

    How long does it take to get the results?
    Currently it takes 2-4 days to receive results from any of the labs.

    Source: Austin Regional Clinic

    For more information, you can click here.

  • February 18, 2019 7:04 AM | Anonymous

    It's hard to imagine that I could not drive myself to the grocery store or find my way through the grocery store to find the items on my grocery list, but I know people that can't do this weekly task!  

    My daughter, who is DeafBlind, would not be able to go to the grocery store to buy her own groceries.  She would need some assistance getting there, finding her items, and getting back home.  I can help her with this task now, but a day will come when I will no longer be available or able.

    I hope and pray that she will have Support Service Providers (SSPs) to help her with her daily or weekly tasks so that she can live an independent life in her community!  I fully support a SSP Bill for DeafBlind Texans!

    Find out more about the Bills from the SSP Coalition:

    Purpose of Senate Bill 704 and House Bill 1564

    Senate Bill 704 has been filed by Senator Watson.

    Also House Bill 1564 (a companion bill) has been filed by Representative Hinojosa.

    The goal for the bill is to establish a SSP Program in Texas.

    For decades, the DeafBlind community have been overlooked due to their low incidence population. The DeafBlind individual’s access to information and skills is profoundly impacted. By utilizing the specialized communication skills of Support Services Providers(SSPs) , the DeafBlind individual can achieve a greater level of autonomy and independence.

    Help us support the bill!

    Follow and support the SSP Coalition:

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