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COVID-19 patient describes how hard it is to get tested

The Tarrant County woman worries that her husband and child may now contract the illness.

FORT WORTH, Texas — She woke up last Friday feeling like a train hit her.

The Tarrant County woman, who works in the restaurant industry, was in extreme pain. She had muscle aches. She was short of breath. She thought she might have COVID-19.

She contacted a clinic and then a hospital. Both said she wasn’t eligible for testing because she didn’t have a fever.

She finally found Urgent Care2go in Farmers Branch. They have a special team that’s been making house visits to people who may have COVID-19. 

She was tested Monday. The results came back Wednesday, showing she was positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Nangrani allowed WFAA to listen in on a virtual appointment with the woman who asked to remain anonymous.

“I now have more shortness of breath,” she told the doctor. “I’m still coughing and hacking but nothing crazy… I no longer have the fatigue really or the muscle aches that I had in the first three days.

The woman, who is in her 30s, is one of two patients tested by Dr. Nangrani’s team found to have COVID-19. The other patient, a man in his late 20s, had recently returned from London. 

She has no idea where she could have contracted the virus, although she suspects it could have been where she works.

“My life is super vanilla,” she said. “I really don’t get much. I go to the gym. I go to work and I pretty much come home. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t party, so my possible exposure is very limited.” 

When the results came back positive for COVID-19, the woman says she was shocked because she thought she had the flu. 

Neither of Nangrani's COVID-19 patients ran a fever – contrary to the common assumptions about COVID-19.

“Fever doesn’t always have to be present,” Nangrani said.

Now, the woman worries that her husband and child might get the virus. The health department has recommended she stay separate from her family. She will have to remain in quarantine until tests show she doesn't have the virus. 

She said the Tarrant County Health Department contacted her Thursday and wanted to create a timeline of where she’d been in the past month and who she might have come in contact with. 

Nangrani told the patient that they wanted to follow-up with her every 48 hours. He told her in most cases, patients are symptom-free after 14 days. But in some cases, it can take nearly a month to be virus-free.

“I’m doing everything in my power to fight it, lots of liquids, lots of soup, hot tea, vitamin C,” she told the doctor. 

Nangrani said he recently saw a patient who’d returned from South Korea and was exhibiting the symptoms of COVID-19. He made numerous calls trying to get the patient tested.

“After that, we figured out our own way to get testing for our patients,” he said.

But he is not sure how long they can continue. They are running out of protective gear.

“Everything is on backorder or not available,” he said. “It is going to get worse before it gets better and we will run out of hospital ICU beds.”

He’s been frustrated by the lack of guidance from the local health departments. Even reaching someone with the Tarrant County Health Department to let them know the Tarrant County woman had tested positive took repeated phone calls. 

As the outbreak continues, she had one piece of advice:

“Just stay home,” the woman said. “We owe it to all of the medical field workers, all the nurses, all the doctors... That’s it. That’s super simple.”

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