A Lexington, Kentucky woman knew she had COVID-19 for nine days, yet she was turned away from testing by her local health department, hospital and doctor’s offices.
Fatima Warren, 45, who lives with her 87-year-old grandmother and 13-year-old son, told the Louisville Courier-Journal she went through countless hoops and was repeatedly denied testing even though she had a persistent fever, fatigue and body aches. Warren, a speech pathologist, claims she was denied because she didn’t fit into a narrow criterion of having traveled overseas recently.
She told the paper that this criterion is inherently biased against low-income people, many of whom are Black and other people of color, who may have the virus but won’t be tested because they haven’t traveled internationally.
On March 10, at the urging of her boyfriend, Warren drove herself to the emergency room at the University of Kentucky Medical Center when she became so sore and feverish that she knew something was definitely wrong. She said she called on her way to alert hospital officials that she was coming and that she thought she had coronavirus.
Warren said the person who took her call told her she could come right in. Doctors tested her for every illness known to man— except for COVID-19, Warren told the Louisville Courier-Journal. When they found nothing, they sent her home.
Knowing that the one test they didn’t give her could prove what she felt she had, Warren self-quarantined, staying away from her son and grandmother as best she could.
When her temperature continued to rise the next day, she said she called the Baptist Health emergency room, but was told to contact her doctor’s office. Her doctor’s office told her they couldn’t fit her in, so she drove to an urgent care center.
Once again, she was tested for many things except the coronavirus, even though the nurse reportedly told her that she’s a candidate for the potentially deadly virus and that she needed to be tested.
But when the nurse practitioner called the state and local health officials, she was told not to test Warren as she was low risk.
Warren was sent back home.
This scenario replayed itself several more times before she was finally tested, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Last Tuesday, one of Warren’s friends relayed that she had heard about a doctor in Lexington, named Dr. John Richard, who was testing people without following guidelines established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Warren was tested at Dr. Richard’s office and her suspicions were verified: she tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
In that time period, who knows how many people Warren could have infected. She can barely remember everyone she was around in the early days of first feeling the symptoms.