Coronavirus in Austin, Texas, US
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Sep 30, 2020 Update
We Asked: What is currently happening with regard to the Coronavirus outbreak in your area? Please provide as much detail as possible. He replied...
All venues except bars and schools are open. Some schools have a mixture of in-class and remote teaching, others have only remote. Patronage is about 50-65 % of "normal". Vehicular traffic is reported to be at 80%
How People are Coping
We Asked: How are people handling the situation in your area? He replied...
I live in a gated community with lots of seniors, as I am. Many are still frightened of the virus. We walk the cart paths of the several golf courses on days they are closed, and many people wear masks even though it's outside and sparkly populated. Commonly a couple walking the other direction deviate their course so as to be 15 ft. or more distant.
We Asked: Describe how the government of the country about which you are reporting is handling this situation. He replied...
The governor of Texas is very interested in opening up the economy, but has occasionally relaxed restrictions only to back track when cases accelerate.
I think he has handled the situation about as good as anyone.
Supplies and Shortages
We Asked: Is there a shortage of supplies in your location? He replied...
None at this time. Earlier there were shortages of paper products.
Travel Restrictions and Related COVID-19 Testing
We Asked: Are non-citizens allowed to travel to your country? Describe travel restrictions, COVID-19 testing requirements and any details about traveling into your country. He replied...
I think so, but don't know for sure.
Health Insurance Requirements
We Asked: Is health insurance required when traveling into the country? Is it required when applying for residency? Is this a new requirement since COVID-19? Describe the health insurance requirement. He replied...
Not that I'm aware of.
We Asked: How easy or difficult is it to get a COVID-19 test locally? Where can you get tested? Do you need to have symptoms or a prescription from a doctor? Describe the process. He replied...
There are widespread drive-in locations around the city. I don't know if a prescription is needed, but an appointment is required.
Public Healthcare & Public Hospitals
We Asked: Are you enrolled in the public healthcare system where you live? Do you feel that the public hospitals are handling or preparing for the Coronavirus outbreak effectively? He replied...
There are many hospitals in the Austin area. I can only speak of the one near us in Lakeway. It only has had about 12 COVID-19 hospitalizations. About one-half had cardiac problems attended to by my cardiologist. All survived.
Private Health Insurance & Private Hospitals
We Asked: Do you have private health insurance? If you have private insurance, does this give you access to private hospitals? Are private hospitals or clinics better prepared, less prepared, or the same? Please explain. He replied...
No. I am covered by Medicare and a Medicare supplement. See above.
Hospital of Choice for Coronavirus Treatment
We Asked: Would you choose a public or private hospital if you needed treatment for Coronavirus? Why? If there is a specific hospital that you would go to in the event of severe illness? Which hospital and why? He replied...
I would ask to go to the local hospital, which is private: Baylor Scott & White.
Residency & Visa
We Asked: Are new residency applications being processed? Have there been any changes or extensions made in terms of residency and other visa renewals? He replied...
I have no idea. We are also permanent residents of Panama and have not been able to go back to our home there until this week. We will delay that return as the current restrictions are too strict.
We Asked: Are you considering returning to your home country due to the Coronavirus? Would this be a temporary move or a permanent repatriation? Please explain. He replied...
We are perfectly happy with our choice of Panama as we live in Panama City when we are there. We have friends who are physicians at both Pacific Salud and Hospital Paitilla and go to one or the other when we have medical issues. The care is as good as it is here in Austin.
We Asked: Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share? He replied...
There are many aspects of Panama's health service sector, especially the public one that includes everyone who is employed. But that system is typically maintained near capacity with regular health issues. Elective surgery is commonly delayed for 6 moths or more so as to not over tax the capacity. When an epidemic occurs, they are soon at capacity, which has resulted in the draconian lockdown that still influences daily behavior and severely constrains personal freedom.
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