TEXAS, USA — Jerry Haynes said his wife Barbra started having respiratory problems and a fever two weeks ago. Their doctor said she had some sort of viral infection, but didn't know what it was. Haynes said his wife was in the emergency room five days later.
"The doctors say they didn't know what was wrong with her," Haynes said. "She has asthma. She has respiratory problems."
Haynes told 6 News Monday that multiple doctors and specialists now believe her issues, though severe, were allergy-related. He said he had been asking for doctors to test his wife all week for COVID-19 to rule that out, but they could not, or would not, provide one.
Now the question is, "Why not?" And, "Why wouldn't doctors test other suspected cases in our area?"
After contacting the hospital involved, the Texas Department of Health Services, local health districts, and multiple private labs, 6 News discovered testing capabilities are still limiting who can get tested for the virus.
Health care providers can order tests from public labs, government-run labs or private labs.
Texas Department of Health Services Press Officer Lara Anton said public lab services require the patient must-have symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. They must also fit into one of the following categories:
- Have had close contact with a confirmed case
- Have traveled to a location with ongoing transmission of COVID-19
- Have risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19
- Are hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms even if they do not have any risk factors.
Health providers can also order tests from private labs to avoid this issue but 6 News found out Monday that the private sector is still rushing to increase their capacity to provide that service.
LabCorp said Monday that they are only performing COVID-19 testing at three labs. These labs are in Phoenix, Ariz., Burlington, N.C., and Raritan, N.J.
A Monday press release from LabCorp said they are working with hospitals to provide on-site testing and more testing options.
A press release from Quest Diagnostics explains they are only testing at two sites across the nation but hope to bring another site online this week. None of the sites are in or near Texas.
LabCorp did assure 6 News in an email that they can provide testing services anywhere in the U.S. but could not confirm what hospital systems they are currently working with.
Ascension Providence in Waco was also asked if the company is currently able to work with private testing labs Monday morning, but we were still waiting for a response as of Monday evening.
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