KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There’s so much information about the coronavirus right now, it’s overwhelming.
Who can get tested? Where do people go to get the test? Does everyone need the test?
Questions about coronavirus and testing continue to pour into the FOX4 newsroom. The answer to many of those questions is that it depends on where you live.
We’re all trying to figure out how to navigate in this new world.
The health departments and hospitals FOX4’s reporters are checking with all have different answers. Some don’t want to tell us where their testing sites are right now because they aren’t in a position to be overwhelmed.
Over the weekend, I found myself with a lot of the same questions you have.
Saturday morning, I read on Twitter that a 49-year-old Ohio man tested positive for coronavirus. He’d been on a Caribbean cruise. It turns out my mother-in-law was on that same cruise.
She’d already been to the doctor with fever and congestion. The doctor gave her a flu test, and she tested negative for both influenza A and B.
The doctor’s office told her to go home and rest.
When she wasn’t feeling better on Saturday, we decided she needed to be tested for the coronavirus.
These are the exact steps we took to make sure she was tested:
- I called the hospital in the small Missouri community where she lives. I explained the situation and my mother-in-law’s symptoms. I told the ER nurse that I knew she shouldn’t go to the ER, but asked where she needed to go. The ER didn’t know.
- I called the county health department over the county where she lives. It was Saturday, and the office was closed.
- My third call was to Missouri’s Coronavirus Hotline at 877-435-8411. It’s manned by health care professionals. When I called on Saturday I was 54th in line and on hold for nearly 45 minutes. The nurse who answered my call was very nice. I explained that my mother-in-law was sick, and she had been on a cruise with a man who tested positive for coronavirus. My mother-in-law is also over the age of 70 and has underlying health conditions. I thought she checked all of the criteria to be tested. I think the nurse tried to calm me by telling me that while she was on a cruise with the guy, it’s more difficult than that to get the virus. When I again asked what I needed to do to make sure my mother-in-law was tested, the nurse told me that she could call her doctor and request a test — “if she even wanted one.”
- I made the decision for her. She wanted to be tested.
- Since it was a Saturday, she called back to the same hospital as in step 1. This time she got the reception desk instead of the ER. When she asked for the phone number for the on-call doctor, the receptionist wanted to know why she was calling.
- That phone call triggered an online screening questionnaire.
- It turned out she did meet the criteria to get a coronavirus test.
- The hospital then got things moving. They called the testing site and notified the people there that my mother-in-law was on her way.
- The hospital receptionist then gave my mother-in-law the location where she needed to go.
- She parked in a lot and called a phone number. Medical professionals dressed in suits and masks came out to her car. She rolled down the window, and they swabbed her throat.
- We are now on day 5, waiting for results.
Keep in mind that every state, county and city is likely going to have a different process for this testing process.
This is just our experience dealing with a small town in Missouri.
It will likely get a lot easier as drive-thru sites become available in some cities.
But make sure you really need to be tested.
My mother-in-law was struggling to breathe, and that’s why we decided to start this process.
The best advice I have is if you honestly feel like you or a loved one is in a position where you may need hospitalization, keep your cool and if you don’t like the answer you’re getting, find someone else to ask.