General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Waco & McLennan County encourage their residents to leave home only for essential activities. As we continue to follow the Governor's plan to reopen Texas, it is vital to practice social/physical distancing and limit activities outside your household.

How can a business be compliant with the order to wear face coverings?

  1. You must adopt a Health and Safety Policy as described in the order. At a minimum, the policy must require all employees and visitors to wear a face covering in your business when you cannot ensure sufficient social/physical distancing (6 feet between persons from different households).
  2. You must notify your employees and visitors of the policy by posting signage in a conspicuous location (for example, at the entrance to the business, in employee breakrooms, at job sites, and at points of sale).
    TEMPLATE SIGNS FOR PRINT HERE: (B&W print)  (Color print)
  3. You must implement the policy by:
    • Notifying your employees and visitors of the policy;
    • Requiring your employees to wear a face covering while at work when maintaining sufficient physical distance from another person is impossible or unlikely; and
    • Requiring visitors to wear a face covering when visiting your business or facilities.

Any concerns about enforcement (in Waco) can call (254) 750-5970.

Why did Waco City Council issue a supplement to the order requiring face coverings be worn in businesses?

It was important to the Mayor and City Council that every avenue be exhausted in order to avoid any additional shelter in place orders.

Cases continue to rise in McLennan County and Waco. In addition, in a matter of seven days, the active COVID-19 case count has increased from 25 cases on 6/12/2020 to 118 on 6/19/2020. The area also experienced its sixth fatality attributed to COVID-19 on 6/24/20.

What do I do if customers do not want to comply?

If a business has made every effort to comply with the order and the customer still refuses to wear a face covering, the business should not put their employees in a situation that creates additional conflict.

The business can choose to call the police to enforce a trespass situation or they can use their discretion based on space and distancing capabilities.

Are churches and places of worship included in this order?

No, churches and places of worship are not commercial entities. Per the order, they are not required to adopt a policy for face coverings, however we strongly encourage them to consider their use.

What does a disaster declaration mean?

Disaster Declaration is a formal statement by the jurisdiction's chief public official (i.e. Mayor, County Judge, or Governor) that a disaster or emergency situation exceeds, or is highly likely to exceed the jurisdiction’s, response capabilities.

How long does the order last?

The end is posted on the current declaration unless the City Council  extends the order.

Are there helpful tips for wearing face coverings/masks?

Cloth face coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Do I have to wear a mask if I have a medical condition?

You do not have to wear a face covering if it poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk.

  • NOTE: For privacy reasons, people can voluntarily disclose their medical condition to the business and it would be at the discretion of the business as to whether they allow entry.

However, CDC reminds the public that recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.

REMINDER: How do people become infected with Coronavirus?

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and
  • Rarely, fecal contamination.

REMINDER: How can I avoid infection with COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine and no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% alcohol).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

REMINDER: What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

REMINDER: What should I do if I do not feel well?

If you are experiencing symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, please contact your health care provider. Your doctor will evaluate your condition and can help make the decision whether you should get tested for coronavirus. Please visit the self assessment page for information on testing guidelines and criteria.

More Health-Related FAQs

Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

Testing is available throughout McLennan County at the sites listed.  Please call first for a pre-screening and an appointment.   You do not have to be an established patient to receive a COVID-19 test.  Check the COVID-19 Testing tab for more information.

Use this DSHS location finder

Type in your zip code for the testing site nearest you and information on how to contact the site.

Use the COVID-19 Waco website screening tool

The screening and testing are free. You can find it under the COVID-19 testing tab.  You will be asked to answer a few questions about your current health symptoms.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, a health care professional will contact you within 48-72 hours with information on where you can receive testing.

Baylor Scott and White

You can set up a screening and appoint online or by phone. 888-427-9723

Ascension Providence

You can set up a screening and appoint online or by phone. 1-833-919-1680

The Family Health Center

You can set up a screening and appoint online or by phone. 254-313-4610    (New patient hotline), 254-131-4200 (Current patients)

What do I do while I wait on COVID-19 test results?

It can take a few days to receive the results of your COVID-19 test. Until you receive the results of your COVID-19 test, you should STAY HOME. If you do have COVID-19 you could be contagious, even if you do not have symptoms or your symptoms are mild. In order to STOP THE SPREAD, it is very important that you do not expose others. This means:

  • Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transportation or taxisStay home except to get medical care. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. In the event that you must leave your home for any reason, utilize a face mask at all times.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have been tested for COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
  • If you test positive, someone from the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District will be contacting you between 24-48 hours of when your positive test result is reported. Please answer this important call!

If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have been tested for COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before the emergency medical services. Questions? Please call 254-750-1890

What is the difference between Isolation and quarantine?

Isolation is for people who are sick. If you are sick it is important that you distant yourself from others to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Quarantine is for people who are well.  If you are well and do not have symptoms, quarantining yourself from others through social distancing. This will lower your opportunities to be exposed to COVID-19. You may be asked to quarantine if you have had direct contact with a positive case.

How should I care for someone with COVID-19?

If you or someone in your household has been diagnosed with COIVD-19 there are few things to remember.

  • First, not every person requires hospitalization. COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms and many people can manage their symptoms at home.
  • Second, separate the sick person from other people in your home and have them wear a facemask when interacting with other people in your home. Avoid sharing personal items like dishes, towels, or sheets. If possible, have a separate bathroom for the sick person.
  • Third, there are no specific treatments for the COVID-19 virus. The virus is treated by managing the symptoms.  Ask your health care provider about treatment options.   Depending on your symptoms, an over the counter medication like acetaminophen or Ibuprofen may be the best option to manage your symptoms.
  • Fourth, keep track of symptoms. If the person’s health is getting worse contact your health care provider.  Look for emergency warning signs such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.

As you recover, the Public Health District will let you know when you will be able to end your isolation or quarantine.

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