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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the source of the virus?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, and others, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses that infect animals have emerged to infect people and can spread between people.

This is suspected to have occurred for the virus that causes COVID-19. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are two other examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to people.

How does the virus spread?

This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

What are the symptoms and how does the virus transfer/spread from person to person?

People with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever of 100.4 or higher
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. How long someone is actively sick can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with doctors, infection prevention and control experts, and public health officials and involves considering specifics of each situation including disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and results of laboratory testing for that patient.

  • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), either. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

What can I do to protect myself or my family?

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.  This is especially important after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available. Should contain at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they are dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice “physical distancing” – put approximately 6 feet between you and other people.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Stay out of crowded places when possible.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes immediately, throw away the used tissues, and then wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. Including doorknobs, light switches, cell phones, tablets, toilets, sinks etc.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

Can you get COVID-19 from your pet or can your pet get COVID-19?

While the COVID-19 virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person in across the world. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals. For more information on the many benefits of pet ownership, as well as staying safe and healthy around animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.

You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/prepare/animals.html

Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19?

Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness including older adults, and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.

What do I do if I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

Your healthcare provider and public health staff will evaluate whether you can be cared for at home. If it is determined that you do not need to be hospitalized and can be isolated at home, you will be monitored by staff from your local or state health department. Whether or not you are ill, you should cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid sharing household items such as dishes, cups, and even towels with other people, and clean all frequently touched counters and tabletops.

People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis. If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

Is there a testing lab in the county, if not which labs can test?

Currently, there is a State Lab in Austin and four commercial labs across the country that can conduct testing. 

How do the tests get done and how long do the results take?

Test results can take 24 to 48 hours upon arrival to the state lab.

Can I consider any travel?

Follow  CDC travel restrictions at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Texas travel restrictions can be found here.

How many people have been tested positive in Williamson County?

For Updated number of cases visit: http://www.wcchd.org/COVID-19/dashboard.php

Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

First, contact your doctor’s office. If your doctor’s office does not know of a location, contact the WCCHD Office for information where to get to tested or visit their website http://www.wcchd.org/COVID-19/testing.php

Williamson County is operating several free testing sites at locations across the county. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms that would like to be tested can complete the online assessment at www.wilco.org/coronavirus

Jury Duty

The Williamson County Justice Center is closed to the public except for essential functions as of 3/19/2020 at noon. The employees are still working to fulfill its important mission. Judges are temporarily suspending jury trials to avoid the large gathering of potential jurors.

How is WCSO handling calls for service?

  • Emergency/Life-Threatening calls or “In Progress” calls for service will be handled in the same manner as always and will not change.
  • Non-Emergency/Routine calls for service will be handled over the telephone, if possible. If a deputy is required, our communications staff have been directed to ask if anyone in the household is exhibiting symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.
  • Deputies will try to maintain a “social distance” out of concern and respect for the community.
  • Fingerprinting services for civilians have been suspended until further notice.
  • The Sheriff’s Citizens Academy has been postponed until further notice.
  • The Sheriff’s Junior Academies for the summer are under review.
  • The Sheriff’s Self Defense Classes are postponed until further notice.
  • The Sheriff’s Community Services programs are postponed until further notice.
  • All volunteer services have been suspended until further notice.
  • All 68A (Vehicle Inspections) have been suspended until further notice.
  • Visitors coming into the Secure Area of the Sheriff’s Office will be restricted.
  • Community members are encouraged to call-in where possible instead of coming to the Sheriff’s Office.

Williamson County Jail Information

  • Enhanced medical screening will continue for prisoners and will be extended to Peace Officers, Attorneys and all staff entering the facility.
  • Medical Staff will assess all incoming arrestees specifically for COVID-19 in the Sally Port. If the arrestee is showing symptoms of the virus, the arresting officer will be redirected to take the arrestee to a hospital. The arrestee will not be accepted in the jail until he/she has been cleared by a doctor.
  • Pursuant to a recommendation from Texas Commission on Jail Standards, all face-to-face visits for inmates have been canceled until further notice except for attorney visits.
  • Access to the Jail will be limited to persons with a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

Expired Car Registration

The inspection requirement has not been waived. However, there is no penalty for inspecting and registering your vehicle after the expiration date. Additionally, the Governor has issued orders for law enforcement to suspend issuing citations for delinquent registration until 60 days after the disaster declaration has been lifted.

Food Bank Information: Individuals for TRUE need of food and supplies

Here are the organizations that we are aware of that are offering food pantries. To find a list of additional resources by zip code, go to our Community Resources web page

The Caring Place Georgetown 

2000 Railroad Ave. Georgetown, TX 78626  

512-943-0700 

Tuesdays and Thursdays 

10 a.m. - noon 

RR Serving Center 

1099 E Main St Round Rock, TX 78664  

512-244-2431 

Monday, Wednesday and Friday 

11 a.m. - 2 p.m.  

Hill Country Community Ministries 

1005 Lacy Dr. Leander, TX 78641  

512-259-0360 

Monday – Friday  

9 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

Need mental heath assistance?

In Williamson County, please reach out to one of the following resources for mental health assistance.

  • Bluebonnet Trails Crisis Hotline 1-800-844-1255.
  • Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 833-986-1919
  • ​Mobile Outreach Team Dispatch Line 512-864-8277
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

CDC Tips for Stress/Anxiety - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managingstress-anxiety.html

Can I go to the grocery store?

Yes. However, families should not use grocery stores as a group outing. Only family members should shop whenever possible. People should quickly and efficiently shop and not use the grocery store as a “hang-out” location. Get what you need and leave.

Can I go to the County owned or funded parks?

Yes. At this time, Williamson County owned or funded parks are open to the public during regular hours for exercise and outdoor activity as long as the Social Distancing Requirements are followed. Please follow the Williamson County website and social media for any updates on access to County owned or funded parks. For information regarding public access to non-County parks owned or operated by other jurisdictions, please contact those jurisdictions directly.

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves, or a friend or family member who has disabilities?

Yes. Please follow all health and safety guidelines such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least six feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue. Please note that this activity should be limited to essential care only.

What if I can’t get out of the home? How can I get supplies and food?

Please contact friends, family, or others you know who can provide support, as well as social service groups, food banks and area churches. They are permitted to pick up and deliver any of your necessities. You can also order food and other supplies and have them delivered to your Residence.

Other available resources include:

Meals on Wheels for Williamson and Burnet Counties (meal delivery for seniors) https://www.mealsonwheels-williamsonburnet.org/ Telephone: 512.763.1400 x 2004

Can I attend church, synagogue, or mosque?

Religious services should be conducted in accordance with the joint guidance issued and updated by the attorney general and governor.

Where can I go for more information?

To stay up to date on COVID-19 issues in Williamson County, including county office closures, please visit Williamson County’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at http://www.wilco.org/coronavirus. See the below Glossary/Key Terms for other contact lists and resources.

Can I go golfing?

Yes, but golf courses must follow proper cleaning and social distancing guidelines. Please keep groups to 4 people or less, and it is encouraged that you wear a mask should you go golfing with other people. .

What are the changes to what healthcare procedures are now allow?

Effective beginning at 11:59 p.m. on April 21, 2020, the Stay Home Stay Safe Order is amended pertaining to “Healthcare Operations.” The amendment allows for surgeries and procedures under specific conditions, such as hospitals reserving at least 25% of their capacity for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. In addition, the facility cannot request any personal protective equipment from any public source for the duration of the COVID-19 disaster. Please check with your healthcare provider regarding specific procedures that you are considering.

Can I conduct or attend a funeral service?

Yes, according to the joint guidance issued and updated by the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Governor, those conducting and attending funeral services, burials, and memorials are directed to follow the guidance and protocols pertaining to religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and places of worship.

Click here to access the joint Guidance for Houses of Worship During COVID-19 Crisis.

Click here to access Governor Abbott’s Open Texas Report.

Click here to access all DSHS protocols for Executive Order GA-18, including protocols for religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and places of worship.

Are cosmetology salons — hair salons, nail salons, tanning salons and barber shops open?

Cosmetology salons, including hair salons, nail salons, tanning salons and barber shops were allowed to open May 8, but with restrictions.  

Establishments must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating workstations, and only one customer per stylist.  

These newly opened services are subject to recommended minimum standard health protocols outlined by DSHS. These protocols will be available on the Open Texas webpage. You can find the Open Texas webpage, here https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas 

Can we hold weddings, funerals, memorials and burials?

Weddings, funerals, memorials and burials may now take place with the same regulations as religious services for a seated arrangement, with receptions following the regulations of restaurants.

Indoor Weddings: Weddings held indoors other than at a church, congregation, or house of worship must limit occupancy to 25%.

Outdoor Weddings: These occupancy limits do not apply to the outdoor areas of a wedding reception or to outdoor wedding receptions.

Wedding Receptions: Wedding reception services may also resume, but facilities must limit their occupancy to 25% of the total listed occupancy of the venue.

Are swimming pools open?

Swimming pools can open on May 8 with restrictions to their occupancy or operating levels. For further guidance, go to the Williamson County and Cities Health District Public Swimming Pool Program website: http://www.wcchd.org/services/environmental/commercial_pools_spas.php 

When can gyms and exercise facilities open?

Starting May 18, gyms, exercise facilities and exercise classes may open with restrictions.  

Gyms and exercise facilities will be able to reopen with 25% capacity. Initial restrictions will include showers and locker rooms remaining closed, requirements for customers to wear gloves covering their whole hand, and the disinfection of all equipment after each use. Distancing will of course be required as well, and any equipment brought in (such as a yoga mat), must be disinfected before and after use. 

When can other businesses open, such as non-essential manufacturing and office operations?

Non-essential manufacturing services and other offices may open on May 18 with restrictions.  

Facilities must limit their occupancy to five employees, or 25% of their workforce, provided that social distancing can be maintained.