Back on March 16, Will Horn was sure he was coming down with the flu.
“Really bad headache, really, really bad body aches and a temperature,” said Horn.
The next day the graduate student visited TCU’s student health center. When a flu test came back negative, a nurse recommended swabbing for COVID-19.
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“They swabbed me that day and just the remainder of the week I just got sicker and sicker to the point where it was literally unbearable. I was in so much pain, the only thing I could do was just lay in a tub of hot water and cry. It was just so painful,” said Horn.
Eventually, he ended up admitted to JPS Hospital with pneumonia where he was treated in isolation for five days still unsure whether he’d contracted the novel virus.
It wasn’t until he was back home on the mend that he finally learned after 16 days he’d been positive for COVID-19.
“If I had not really been the type of conscientious person that I am, I could’ve been a weapon of mass destruction by myself. I could’ve infected so many people because nobody could confirm for me that I had coronavirus,” said Horn.
Austin Stewart said he had a similar thought after waiting 13 days for results after getting tested at Texas Health Presbyterian Plano.
He chose to get tested after becoming feverish and lethargic following a trip to Washington state.
“They sent me home and they said, ‘Go straight home and stay inside your house, because you may or may not have it. Don’t have any contact with the outside world for 14 days,” said Austin Stewart.
He was just one day out from the end of that quarantine when he finally learned his test results were negative.
“It was almost tempting to leave the quarantine and just think, ‘Do I even really have this virus?’ You know, I didn’t, but it felt like I didn’t have direction and that ambiguity made it hard to trust what the next steps would be,” said Stewart.
Thursday, Dallas County said average wait times from tests done at its two sites are currently seven to 10 days due to backlogs at federal labs.
This week, both Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics announced they were increasing their capacity to bring average wait times down to 4 or 5 days.
But when Sarah Render got tested at a drive-thru site in Lewisville Thursday morning, she was handed paperwork in which the anticipated seven day wait time had been scratched out and changed to 14 days.
“I’m stuck at home not being able to go anywhere for my own health and others, but I have to rely on parents that are in their 60s to go pick up my prescriptions from the pharmacy for me,” said Horn.
As she waits to learn whether her symptoms are anything more than the flu, she wonders if the risk her parents are taking to help her is unnecessary.