TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As cases continue to increase around the world, the coronavirus outbreak has quickly become the number one topic of discussion.
People are worried.
They’re talking about it, thinking about it and preparing for what’s next. Tampa Bay residents, in particular, admit they’re nervous and feel on edge with cases in Hillsborough and Manatee Counties.
Because this is considered a public health state of emergency, declared by the governor, this question is now being raised.
Who should pay for coronavirus testing? Is it the responsibility of the government to foot the bill for these costs?
Late Tuesday, Florida Senator Rick Scott issued a statement calling on members of Congress for funding in the fight against this rapidly increasing epidemic.
He says as cases increase, so should the money to test for it. Many agree.
8 On Your Side spoke with a number of Bay Area citizens who told us there’s no question, all aspects of testing should be paid for by the federal government.
“If they want to do the right thing, then they should give us the opportunity to get tested and pay for it,” said Anna Dutko, a Tampa mom.
Anna owns a fitness company in South Tampa and says there’s no doubt in her mind, the government should incur all costs.
“I’d like to know if I have it, and I’d like to know if other people are spreading it around as well. I think we have the right to know,” Anna said.
So, how much does it cost to test for coronavirus?
The test itself is free.
It’s the other costs incurred that become the patients’ financial responsibility when they seek treatment at a hospital or urgent care. Health experts tell 8 On Your Side when a patient arrives at a facility presenting symptoms, that’s when the process of elimination begins
Prior to testing for coronavirus, doctors will first rule out everything else In most cases, they will test for the flu and upper respiratory infection, since coronavirus symptoms mirror the flu.
In addition, a full travel history will be taken, asking about any trips outside the United States. Doctors need to know if the patient has been to any hot zones as of late, including China, Japan, South Korea, Iran or Italy. Physicians also want to know if that patient has come into contact with anyone recently in those locations.
In the end, if everything else has been ruled out, and it’s been determined that the patient is, indeed, at risk for the virus, the CDC will test for it.
In Florida, three state labs are currently conducting the testing with locations in Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami,
“Right now, it’s in everybody’s heads so if it alleviates some of the fears, I think it makes all the sense in the world,” said Ray Menna, taking a stroll on Tampa’s Riverwalk.
He says it’s simple.
This outbreak is dangerous, deadly and spreading fast. The world is watching as the epidemic is infecting and killing people in multiple countries.
Now, cases are popping up in Tampa Bay.
People here want testing to be readily available, and they feel they shouldn’t have to pay for it.
“It makes a world of sense. A little precaution never hurt anybody, and if it gets the economy moving again, it’s worth every cent, ten-fold,” said Menna.
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