It’s tough getting a coronavirus test, as one Angeleno’s personal experience shows

Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Friday, March 6, 2020. Credit: Governor Tom Wolf (CC BY 2.0).

The government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told lawmakers today that our system isn’t set up to rapidly distribute COVID-19 tests. There’s so much confusion out there. Who gets the test? Who orders it? How do you get it?

We hear from one man who tried getting tested. Jesse -- who asked us not to use his last name for privacy and safety concerns -- works for an architecture firm in LA that had a client test positive for COVID-19. The client ended up being hospitalized. 

Jesse then called the LA County Health Department, but kept getting transferred to different numbers. When he was finally able to talk to a person in the communicable diseases office, she was nonchalant, unengaged, and very brief. She said they couldn’t give him a test. 

He then called his primary care physician’s office, who told him they weren’t prescribing tests at this time.

Jesse says that he’s healthy, so if he does get the virus, he’s confident it won’t be fatal. Rather, he’s more worried about the other people around him. 

Credits

Guest:
Jesse - principal, architecture firm in Century City

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin