This is page is periodically updated with new and changing information. Last update: September 22, 2022
Visit the Hays County Health Department Webpage
Find a printable version of the most recent COVID-19 guidelines from our epidemiology team.
Hays County COVID-19 statistics are published on a weekly basis on the COVID-19 Online Dashboard.
HCLHD may receive information about COVID-19 days, weeks, or months after the fact. This has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic and is a product of data reporting lags from a variety of sources including physicians, hospitals, labs, and other health departments. If you notice jumps in the cases, hospitalizations, or fatalities on the cumulative tab of the dashboard, please know that this is the result of these data backlogs.
Report at-home COVID-19 Test Results
You can report your COVID-19 at-home test results by using this link: https://arcg.is/1G4P1r. All information is confidential and no identifying information is collected. Although these reports will not be included in the official case counts for Hays County, they will help us have a better understanding of community spread. Thank you for your help!
COVID-19 Community Levels
The CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels is a new risk-based set of guidelines that can be used to guide behavior during times of low, medium, and high transmission in the community. Recommendations for those who are up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines and for those who are at higher risk can be found on the CDC website. The metrics used to determine whether Hays County is currently at low, medium, or high risk are found on our dashboard.
A second booster (Pfizer or Moderna) is now authorized by the FDA for those who are over 50 years of age or are immunocompromised as long as it has been more than four months since receiving the last booster. It is okay to mix vaccine boosters (i.e., you do not need to get the same brand as your original shots). There is some evidence that mixing vaccines may actually enhance the immune response and offer better protection. See additional info here and here.
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccines are available from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Christus Trinity Clinic located at 401-A Broadway Street in San Marcos. Many other pharmacies and medical offices are also offering vaccines at this time. Use this website to find a vaccination location near you.
Where can I get tested?
Use this link to order free at-home COVID-19 antigen tests: https://www.covid.gov/tests. It is a good idea to order tests before you think you will need them. You can also use this link to schedule a PCR test with Curative. Many other local medical facilities also offer COVID-19 testing. Call ahead to confirm. Note: most facilities no longer offer free testing. Insurance or out-of-pocket costs may apply.
Where can I get vaccinated?
Walk-in appointments are available from 8-11 and 1-4 at the Christus Trinity Clinic located at 401-A Broadway St. in San Marcos.
Or use this website to find a vaccination clinic near you.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines teach your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19 without having to risk the sometimes dangerous and life-threatening side effects of getting sick from the virus. Vaccines train and prepare your immune system to recognize and fight off the germs that the vaccine targets. After vaccination, if the body is later exposed to those disease-causing germs, the body is quick to recognize and destroy them, preventing illness.
Here is a simple two-minute video explanation from PBS.
Why should I get vaccinated?
If you have been vaccinated, your body will be able to quickly recognize and fight the COVID-19 virus if you are exposed. Unfortunately, the vaccine does not usually prevent the virus from getting into your body, but it does help your body to recognize the virus in time to prevent serious illness and death. Most people with “breakthrough cases” have very mild symptoms and get over the illness quickly.
Getting vaccinated also protects those around you. The fewer people there are that are susceptible to the virus, the harder it is for the virus to spread in a community. This is called herd immunity. By getting vaccinated, you are helping to protect those who cannot get vaccinated.
Is the vaccine safe?
Yes! The COVID-19 vaccine is very safe. Millions of people around the world have already gotten the vaccine. There are many studies that show that these vaccines are safe and effective. The benefits of vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. Adverse events, such as allergic reactions or myocarditis are extremely rare. Many more people have suffered catastrophic side effects from getting sick with COVID-19 than have had reactions to the vaccine.
Vaccines may seem scary, but they are actually one of the oldest and most natural medical interventions in use today. Some form of vaccination has been in use for over 1000 years. Watch a 5-minute video about the history of vaccination. Explore this timeline of the history of vaccines. Learn more about vaccines here.
Will I get side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?
You may feel some uncomfortable short-term side effects. These may include:
- Injection site discomfort, such as pain, swelling, redness or bruising
- Muscle and joint pain
Although these side effects are uncomfortable, they are not dangerous. They are a sign that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and building up protection against the coronavirus.
There have been reports of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) following vaccination. These reports are extremely rare and most cases are mild and resolve quickly. It is important to remember that myocarditis is more likely to occur from getting a COVID-19 infection than from the vaccine.
What about long-term effects from the vaccine?
Because the vaccine is new, some people are worried that we may not know what the long-term effects will be. However, there has not been a serious side effect in the history of any vaccine that did not occur within two months of the injection. This is not to say that there are never long-term side effects from vaccines, it only means that scientists have known about all side effects relatively quickly. There is strong evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine will not cause long-term harm. Read more here and here. We know that getting a COVID-19 infection does do long-term harm to many people.
Why should I get a booster dose?
Everyone, ages 12 and over, should get a booster dose. Only the Pfizer is approved for teens. Adults can choose to have a booster with Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson, regardless of what was received for the initial doses. Wait five months after the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer or two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before getting the booster dose. A second booster is available for those who are immunocompromised or are over 50 years of age if it has been more than four months since their last booster.
Because immunity decreases over time, a booster is necessary to keep your immune system alert to the ongoing danger. Some vaccines require a 3-dose regiment, such as Hepatitis and HPV vaccines. Other vaccines require a periodic booster dose to maintain immunity, such as the tetanus vaccine. It is too early to know if or when we may need COVID boosters again. Learn more about boosters here and here.
Can my child get a vaccine?
Yes! Children ages 5 and older are encouraged to get a vaccine. Even though a COVID-19 infection is usually mild in children, we do not know the long-term effects of the virus. The vaccine is safe and effective for children.
What to do if you test positive to COVID-19
- Isolate for a minimum of five (5) days from date of positive test (test day is day zero).
- Wear a high-quality mask (N95, KF94, or KN95) around others for a minimum of 10 days.
- To end your isolation, your symptoms must be resolving. If possible, test before ending your isolation. It is not uncommon to continue to test positive on day 8 or 9 or longer. If you continue to test positive (with an antigen test) then you are still contagious! Continue to isolate until you have a negative test result. If you are not feeling well, do not rush to end your isolation. Seek medical care as needed.
What to do if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19:
- Watch for symptoms for 10 days. Wear a high-quality mask if you are around others in indoor settings. If you start to show symptoms, isolate and get tested.
- Even if you do not show symptoms, test on day 5 if possible.
If you test negative (or are unable to test) but have symptoms and a known exposure to COVID-19:
- Assume that you have COVID-19. Many people do not test positive until day 3 or 4 of their illness. PCR tests are more reliable than antigen tests.
- Isolate for 5 days from date of symptom onset (first day of symptoms is day 0).
- Wear a high-quality mask (N95, KF94, or KN95) around others for a minimum of 10 days.
- To end your isolation, your symptoms must be resolving.
- Information about quarantine vs. isolation can be found here.
- More information about current guidelines from the CDC is available here.
- Information about the ability of vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections to clear the virus faster than those who have not been vaccinated can be found here, here and here.
Local School Dashboards
Many local school districts have their own COVID-19 dashboards. Please see the links below for information.
The Texas Department of State Health Services tracks coronavirus cases in Texas and updates the numbers daily.