BOSTON (CBS) – “When I woke up, I had a bad cough and sort of a feeling, like shortness of breath,” Hillary King said via FaceTime from her home in the North End. She’s worried she has coronavirus, and even though she wants to be tested, the answer was ‘no.’
It happened Wednesday night as her symptoms worsened. Now she’s home, in self isolation, but still without an answer. “I started feeling a tickle in my throat on Monday,” she explained. Hillary didn’t think much of it at first, but by Wednesday, she was worse with a nasty cough and trouble breathing. So she called her health insurer. “They recommended that I go to urgent care or the ER,” she said.
Her next step was to call the closest hospital. “After speaking to somebody at the ER at Mass Gen, they told me to come down,” she said.
They immediately gave her a mask. “And the chairs for the patients were spaced out, six feet apart, in all directions,” she explained. “They listened to my lungs. They said it sounded clear. They took my temp. No fever.”
But her cough was bad and she says her doctor wanted to test her for the coronavirus, but couldn’t do it because she didn’t meet the criteria. She hadn’t traveled to a hot spot zone overseas or been in direct contact with someone with a confirmed case. “If you don’t meet one of those they will not test you right now because they only have so many tests and they’re saving them for folks who do meet that criteria,” she said.
Hillary was eventually sent home where she plans to stay, alone, for at least 14 days. “It’s really scary to think about that I could have been asymptomatic but contagious,” she said. “That’s why I’d really like to know and get tested and find out if that’s what it is.”
Hillary says a friend was nice enough to grocery shop for her, so she’s supplied for her alone time.
While doctors can request that a patient is tested, the final decision is made by state health officials.