Panola County residents are being asked to stop calling Allegiance Ambulance to ask them for a COVID-19 test, Panola County Judge LeeAnn Jones said Thursday.

The ambulance service does not have the ability to test for the new coronavirus, and Jones said the public was tying up wither phones used for emergency purposes.

Area agencies who have the ability to test for COVID-19 are UT Health Carthage and Hope Community Medicine, although those wishing to be tested must meet certain criteria.

UT Health Carthage is pre-screening all patients and asking them to call (903) 596-DOCS before visiting one of its facilities. The hospital has said testing protocol requires clinicians to contact local county health departments for determination of further COVID-19 testing if other illnesses, such as the flu, are ruled out.

Those patients experiencing symptoms with COVID-19, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, are being directed to a respiratory clinic for further assessment. The clinic is located across the street from the hospital’s emergency room.

Hope Community Medicine recommended people to call to get tested if they have a fever above 100.4 degrees, a cough, shortness of breath and persistent pain or pressure in the chest.

The clinic urged people to call them immediately if they have those symptoms in addition to having been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset or have a travel history from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset.

Phone numbers to reach Hope Community Medicine offices are:

  • Tenaha — (936) 248-4673
  • Center — (936) 598-2716
  • San Augustine — (936)-275-4420