Local health care professionals explain what to do if you experience COVID-19 symptoms

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SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - The biggest point local doctors made, was if you do show symptoms of the coronavirus, don't go to the emergency room, call your primary care physician first.

This doesn't mean not to come to the ER if you're experiencing a true health emergency.

"Absolutely come to the emergency department but if they're just wanting a test, they need to call their primary care doctors," said Chief Clinical Support Officer at Wilson N. Jones Trish Wood.

Health care professionals at TMC and Wilson N. Jones say the criteria for testing patients include coughing, shortness of breath, fever, and having been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

They say its important to call your primary care physician first, to avoid too many people coming to the ER unless advised otherwise.

"Unfortunately, if we get a huge influx of patients that do not require emergent treatment, it takes away from the conditions that we really need that ER staff to care for," said Director of TMC Emergency Services Geri Larson.

"But if they're not sick enough to come to the ER, then they don't need to expose everyone in the emergency department, they don't need to expose people in their community, those around them. They really need to stay in their home to minimize that exposure," said Wood.

The scarcity of tests throughout the country also plays a role in who gets a test, as doctors want to make sure they're used for the sickest of the sick.

"Those patients that are truly sick are the ones that need to be tested. The patients that can go home need to take care of their symptoms at home and stay isolated," said Larson.

"We want to make sure we have the supplies to protect our health care workers and not use it when we don't really need it," said Wood.

Along with washing hands, they also want you to follow the state's new guidelines of avoiding crowds of ten or more people.

"Staying home, staying indoors, we're just really pushing for people to not expose themselves unnecessarily," said Wood.

"Avoid exposure to anybody in the household, maintaining a safe distance from them," said Larson.

If you do feel like you're feeling ill, you can get a direct opinion from the Texas Department of State Health Services about your situation ... by calling (877) 570-9779.

Oklahomans can contact the state's COVID-19 call center by dialing 211.

Texas Governor Greg Abbot says the state plans to ramp up testing as soon as they're more readily available.