Man who felt sick claims he had trouble getting coronavirus test

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country, many are wondering about the testing process.

ABC13's Mayra Moreno spoke with a man who took a test and walked her through the process.

"My whole family is nervous at this point," said Juan Herold.

He said he returned from a trip to Idaho over the weekend and began feeling ill. He said he started experiencing symptoms he had never experienced before.

"An onset of a bunch of different symptoms," he said. "I had headaches, my throat was already tickling, a dry cough, I had chills and body pain. Just aches and pains from head to toe."

Herold went to the emergency room, but said he was only seen by a nurse practitioner and not a doctor.

"Basically, they said I have a viral respiratory infection, also known as a cold," he recalled.

Herold later discovered a friend, who attended a ski-trip with him, tested positive for coronavirus.

"Having felt the way I felt, I knew something was wrong and I needed to have it checked out," explained Herold.

Herold has since quarantined himself in the second story of his home awaiting official test results, a process he said has been a bit uneasy.

"I called the Texas Health Department, I called the county Health Department, I called the CDC," explained Herold. "The first night, I was just on hold forever."

He said he was finally tested Thursday morning. Dr. David Persse with the Houston Health Department said it's a fluid situation. Some hospitals are still trying to get their laboratories up and running, which he said has not been easy.

"When we got the samples and directions and everything from the CDC, it took us a week to go through all the processes to make sure that our folks are able to run this test, and then we had to test ourselves and make sure that we're doing it right. So, it takes about a week. Once you have all the pieces of the puzzle, it takes about a week before the lab can start producing reliable test results."

Persse said the Houston region is able to conduct 29 tests a day, and only those showing symptoms are getting tested. The city health department suggests contacting your doctor first and conduct a phone assessment.
City leaders hope to eventually conduct hundreds of cases at once in the next couple of weeks.

But, that still doesn't sit well with Herold. He believes he should have been tested from the start, and said his biggest concern is testing positive for the coronavirus.

Map of COVID-19 cases across the US, updated as confirmed by CDC

"It's here already and it's not a matter of whether they're not in the country," said Herold. "I know they don't just want to test everybody that shows up at the ER saying they got a cough."

Herold also fears if he tests positive, he might have infected his elderly mother and 3-year-old grandson.

"I was just angry that I may have been given false information as to my condition," said Herold.

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