COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A Georgia family spent last week in Orlando, visiting all four of the Disney theme parks. They drove home Monday, and everyone was sick with classic flu-like symptoms.
The last three days they have been trying to get a COVID-19 test … and they can’t.
WRBL interviewed Sheli and Kevin Hankins Thursday morning via Facebook Messenger.
The family physician ordered a coronavirus/COVID-19 test for Kevin and their son. The doctor’s office then told them to go to the West Central Health District office in Midtown Columbus.
People at the ground-floor security desk asked what kind of testing they were there for. He told them and was sent to the second-floor clinic.
Kevin Hankins recalled what happened when he reached the clinic and was greeted by a receptionist:
“She asked, ‘What are you being tested for?’ I said, ‘coronavirus.’ She got this really strange look on her face. She raised her eyebrows, like ‘I can’t believe you brought that in here.’ She didn’t say that. There was definitely disdain on her face. Then she said, ‘Oh, yeah, we don’t do that here.’”
West Central Health District spokeswoman Pamela Kirkland said that the health district does not do the testing. She says a throat culture should be taken at the doctor’s office and sent to the CDC.
That’s the catch-22.
No one in Columbus has tested positive for COVID-19, Kirkland said. But the West Central Georgia Health District does not know how many local people have been tested.
Meanwhile, Kevin Hankins and his son have been experiencing symptoms that should call for testing, at least according to their doctor.
“Coughing. Runny nose thing. The worst headache I have ever had in my life. Hot and Cold,” Kevin Hankins said.
There is also achiness, according to Sheli.
They have called a private medical testing firm and Gov. Brian Kemp’s office.
“They don’t really know what to do once you call those people,” Kevin Hankins said. “There’s no test kits that anybody is aware of. There is no alternative to go to if somebody runs out of test kits. It’s like there’s a brick wall if you need to be tested for this.”
And it’s not just the patient.
“Our doctor’s office is having a hard time getting information,” Sheli Hankins said. “They are trying as well.
Bottom line is, Sheli and Kevin Hankins don’t know what has made them sick. But amid the concerns for the virus and their symptoms, they want to be tested – and it’s a lonely place.
“Once we left the doctor’s office, it felt like that was the last person who actually cared,” Kevin Hankins said. “They’re the only people that seem to be trying to find the information and get it from the people who are supposed to already have the information. And they are not being forthcoming with what they are supposed to know.”