COVID-19 testing available

by Cristin Parker
National Guardsmen enjoy lunch, provided by the River a Church for Whosoever in Alto, during the recent COVID-19 testing event held at the church on Monday. Guardsmen were onhand to help conduct the event. National Guardsmen enjoy lunch, provided by the River a Church for Whosoever in Alto, during the recent COVID-19 testing event held at the church on Monday. Guardsmen were onhand to help conduct the event.

Over the first weekend of phase 1 of the state’s reopening, Texas health officials reported the greatest two consecutive-day gains in the number of new COVID–19 cases, with more than 2,000 new cases added on May 2 and May 3.

Call it coincidence or just desserts, testing for the virus and its antibodies, as well as a state-produced app conducting contact tracing, are available to Cherokee County residents as the state continues into phase 2 of reopening businesses.

“If you go to a care facility and you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have traveled to designated areas, you will be asked to wear a mask upon arrival,” medical officials state. “Coronavirus tests can produce results within four to six hours to several days. However, the U.S. is short on supplies. Not everyone can get tested for COVID-19.”

That’s why people have to meet certain criteria before they can be tested. Anyone having experienced within the last 14 days, fever of 100.2 degrees or higher; cough; shortness of breath; international or cruise travel; and/or close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 meets the testing criteria.

One tool the state has provided to help concerned citizens figure out who needs to be tested is the Texas Health Trace, an app that helps track and stop the spread of COVID-19 in Texas.

The app features a ‘Self-Checker’ option to help citizens decide if they need to be tested; a place to report exposure to COVID-19; and a map of COVID-19 test collection sites.

“The goal of contact tracing is to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” the DSHS’s website states. “By participating and doing your part, you can help keep your loved ones and people you know from getting sick.

People need a valid email to register and use the app.

“Please note this app does not provide any medical advice or help,” the DSHS’s website states. “If you develop emergency warning signs for coronavirus, call 9-1-1 and get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include trouble breathing; severe pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion or inability to wake up; and/or bluish lips or face.”

Anyone who determines they need a COVID-19 test have a few options available to get one.

Family First Urgent Care in Jacksonville is offering drive-through COVID-19 testing. Anyone meeting the criteria for a test can pull around to the rear of the Urgent Care building, 2116 E. Rusk St., in Jacksonville. Test fee is $150.

“If you would like to file on insurance, you must schedule an office visit with a provider,” Clinic officials state. “We are unable to accept Medicaid.”

Schedule an appointment by calling (903) 339-3022.

The FAMILY Circle of Care office, 510 E Commerce St., Jacksonville, continues to see patients for routine visits and non-COVID-19 visits and has been referring those who qualify for COVID-19 tests to its FCC COVID-19 Evaluation Center, 2990 N. Broadway, in Tyler, for evaluation.

“You will be tested if you meet certain criteria, as determined by the health department,” office authorities stated. “Please call ahead if you are experiencing symptoms or concerned about exposure prior to coming to the clinic.

“If you have a PCP (primary care physician), you are urged to see you PCP to be evaluated. If your PCP is not seeing patients at this time, we are happy to register you as a new patient and evaluate you.”

Call to schedule appointments at (903) 535-9041.

• UT Health-East Texas officials recommend patients experiencing symptoms of high fever, cough and/or shortness of breath to call (903) 596-DOCS (3627) to determine the best treatment option and/or if testing is necessary.

“Patients with these symptoms may be directed to a separate clinic location,” hospital officials state.

To schedule a telehealth appointment, call (903) 596-DOCS (3627) or visit Insurance will be billed as usual.

Testing sites located in counties adjacent to Cherokee County include:

• UT Health Henderson, 317 Wilson Street, Henderson, offers COVID-19 screening and testing. Call (903) 657-7541;

• Hospitality Health ER, 3943 Old Jacksonville Highway, Tyler. Call (903) 593-1212 for an appointment.

• MedPost Urgent Care of Nacogdoches, 1305 North St., Nacogdoches. Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. No appointment required. Most insurances accepted. Call (936) 559-5322 for details.