Local Woman Says She Can't Get Tested For Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has released new testing guidelines and instructions in response to the concerns about COVID-19.
One local woman who thought she had it said he tried to do everything she could but couldn't get tested.
Laura Hawk said she's currently having flu-like symptoms and shortness of breath. Hawk said she spent days calling her doctor, local emergency rooms and the OSDH's call center.
She said her husband had recently traveled to California, and then they both went to Oregon. Hawk said she doesn't travel often, but she and her husband were celebrating their five year anniversary.
Hawk said while she was in Oregon she started showing symptoms but tested negative for the flu. She was told they didn't have tests for COVID-19 but they wanted to test her. The couple cut their trip short and traveled back to Oklahoma.
Back in her home state she said she tried again to get tested but got different answers. Some places told her they didn't have enough test or didn't have any at their disposal. With each call, Hawk said she got different instructions.
"I was told a lot of different things by my doctors, by the State Department of Health and by the ER," said Hawk.
Finally, after days of trying, she was able to find an ER that would give her a respiratory panel. Hawk tested positive for Influenza A but still has not been tested for COVID-19.
"It seems like if my doctor and a doctor in another state both said I want to test you that should qualify you to be tested," said Hawk.
Now she's concerned and doesn't know how states will get an adequate count if they don't have enough widespread testing.
"If they can't test people of suspicion that could have it then of course the numbers will be unrealistically low," said Hawk.
According to what Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Gary Cox said during a press conference on Thursday, Hawk did everything right.
"The guidelines are if you're either symptomatic or a physician in consultation with that patient make a joint decision that testing is in order," said Cox.
The commissioner said the state has the capacity to run about 100 tests a day and more are on the way.
"We're ordering additional reagents at the time and so we have the current capacity I think for about 300 tests," said Cox. "However, there are two private laboratories in Oklahoma who are or will be up and running very soon."
It seems Hawk followed the testing recommendations the OSDH sent out on Thursday, March 12.
News 9 reached out to the department in regards to Hawk's situation and asked questions about testing. Those questions included the steps a patient should take if a physician decides not to test.
"I think that there needs to be a little bit of a public outcry right now, so we can get the testing that's needed," said Hawk.
The state health department said they would recommend the woman self-quarantine and follow the same guidelines as the flu.
While the state has tests, the health department works with doctors to determine if a test is necessary. Sometimes, this process can be a few days but the state health department said it wants to save the tests for people exhibiting the COVID-19 symptoms.