U.S. citizens are finding it difficult to get tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19) despite having symptoms and recently traveling out of the country. People who have been denied testing are sharing their stories and voicing their frustrations on Twitter.
Julie O’Donoghue, a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio, shared her experience taking her sick husband to the doctor after traveling to France. O’Donoghue said that her husband was on an immunosuppressant and had a mild fever, so he was arguably a “high risk” person.
O’Donoghue shared that Missouri will only test patients who have been to a high-risk country like China or Italy, and who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
These restrictions make it difficult for sick people to get tested, as they might have come in contact with an infected person but not known it. The risk of coming in contact with coronavirus is even higher during travel, and there’s virtually no way to know if you come across someone with coronavirus.
O’Donoghue said her doctor was frustrated by the limited testing, and she was frustrated not knowing if her husband was seriously sick.
O’Donoghue said her husband was instructed to self-quarantine and go to the emergency room if his symptoms worsened.
“I mainly shared this story because I want people to know how difficult it is to even get tested for #COVID19,” O’Donoghue wrote. “With such a narrow group of people being tested, can [we] really know the extent of the outbreak?”
O’Donoghue is far from the only one experiencing frustration with limited resources and testing. Experts say there are limited materials necessary for testing, which has made it difficult to make the test more available.
Robert Redfield, CDC Director, told Politico he is “not confident” the U.S. has an “adequate” stock of medical supplies used during testing.
“I’m confident of the actual test that we have, but as people begin to operationalize the test, they realize there’s other things they need to do the test,” Redfield told Politico.
Other stories on Twitter sound very similar to O’Donoghue’s. Sulome Anderson, a journalist and author, said her friend tried to get tested but was denied due to testing restrictions.
Many sick people trying to get tested are running in circles contacting doctors, their state’s department of health, and insurance companies.
The CDC also urges people who are sick to self-quarantine except to obtain medical care, wear face masks in public, cover coughs and sneezes, and wash their hands regularly.