Coronavirus - What You Should Know

Mask Policy

Governor Abbott has announced that businesses will be allowed to open without restrictions and the statewide mask mandate will be lifted as of March 10th.

Premier's current policy is to continue to follow the CDC guidelines for masking because:

  • Although the positivity rate for COVID-19 had been dropping, it has stalled at about 9% and has not dropped further.
  • Only about 6% of Texans have been vaccinated, meaning many people at elevated risk of severe COVID-19 have not yet been vaccinated.
  • The impact of new circulating COVID-19 variants has not been fully understood.
  • In healthcare, we see patients at elevated risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions, pregnancy, immune compromised, etc.
  • Our masking guidelines have proven very effective at protecting both patients and employees.

Our primary concern is everyone’s safety.

All locations will have masks available at check-in for those that do not have their own. If you prefer not to wear a mask, we have virtual visits available for all providers.

Know Your Risk During COVID-19

Information for You and Your Family - Face Covering

A significant percentage of individuals with the COVID-19 virus lack symptoms. Because an infected person can transmit the virus to others before showing any symptoms, the covering of a person’s nose and mouth when outside your home or residence is necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is consistent with the findings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Austin-Travis County Health Authority.

Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and hand washing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus. Medical grade (N95) and surgical masks should be reserved and used only by medical professionals and first responders. Visit for more tips on how to keep you and your loved ones healthy.

What Is COVID-19 And What Are The Symptoms?

Coronavirus is a family of viruses that range in severity from the common cold to more severe respiratory infections. Symptoms range in severity based on your personal health factors. Symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, body aches, and fatigue. Keep in mind that many viruses that are currently circulating have the same list of symptoms (i.e. flu!).

How is it spread?

The most likely transmission is person-to-person through close contact with respiratory droplets (in other words a cough or sneeze). The virus can also live on surfaces for days, which means if you touch a doorknob, grocery basket, etc and then touch your face then you are infected. The incubation period from exposure to illness is 2-14 days.

Who is at risk

The great majority of people will have a mild respiratory illness. Those at highest risk are the elderly and people with underlying chronic illness. We are NOT hearing of pediatric deaths thus far.

When will we start seeing it in our community?

We can’t be certain but we have seen estimates suggesting that it could be widespread by early April. There will NOT be a vaccine or treatment available this year.

What should you do to prepare?

First - don’t panic! Remember that for most people, this is going to be a mild illness! The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands and avoid touching your face. Wipe down surfaces when possible at the grocery store, restaurants, etc. Limit exposure to crowded places if possible. Have a bottle of hand sanitizer in the car and at the door and be sure everyone is clean when coming into the house. If you or your child have asthma, ensure that they are taking their preventative medications as prescribed. Eat healthily and get a good night's sleep!

What will PFP do to keep you safe?

We will keep you updated with information as we learn ourselves. Things are changing daily at this point. We will be diligent about sanitizing the office and providing masks (as available!) if our community becomes affected. We will remove all toys, books, etc. to minimize transmission through touch (so feel free to bring some entertainment with you for appointments!). We will designate exam rooms for healthy patients to avoid exposure if possible.

We will be hopeful that this virus can be contained but certainly want to be prepared. Please call us with any questions or symptoms.

3/18/20 - Dear PFP patients and family:

Please stay safe out there. We are reaching out to you so that you can be aware, informed, and prepared.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) remains a fluid situation, now close to home, and we want to acknowledge the concern that affects and impacts all of us.

Our priority is the health and safety of our patients and employees. To stay on top of all the developments, PFP leadership meets daily and has been actively planning for several weeks.

After the recent news of the patients in the Austin community with presumptive positive tests, we quickly moved into our next stage of planning that includes the following:

  • As of Monday, 3/16 we have opened a Pop Up acute care clinic to allow us to separate our sick patient visits and well visits into different offices. It is still safe to keep your normal routine and well appointments with our office.
  • Preparing to offer telemedicine options; and
  • Continuing to prepare and train our clinical staff to ensure a safe environment.

Your health is always our priority. Our relationship is a partnership and during these unprecedented circumstances, we need to envision what it feels like to be in each other’s shoes. Our doctors and staff are also looking for childcare, thinking about their parents, and doing everything they can so they can show up every day to be on the front lines to care for our communities throughout Austin.

As you can imagine, we are experiencing longer than normal call volumes as well as increased patient walk-ins and portal messages. We apologize for any delays in communication you may experience in the coming weeks. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this very busy and challenging time. While you may experience delays, we will get back to you as soon as possible.

We are in this together and can all play a part in keeping each other—our loved ones, friends, and communities—healthy and safe.

In good health,

Kevin Spencer, MD
CEO, Premier Family Physicians

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