I-Team: Viewer shares issues trying to get coronavirus test


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency in Nevada Thursday, expressing frustration with the federal government and a lack of communication.

The governor said he didn’t know when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be sending additional test kits to Southern Nevada.

The I-Team has broken several stories on this issue and looked into how the Health District is responding today. They don’t have an answer to the test kit question, either. They told us they’re waiting for answers from the federal government.

Dr. Michael Johnson, director of community health, said we have 1,000 tests available right now. He’d feel more comfortable if the 20,000 kits requested had arrived.

We also learned the lab is at capacity and some hospitals are reporting a shortage of viral transport media, including tubes used to protect and transport the tests.

8 News Now has also heard from viewers like Nora Mirabal, who told us they feel sick, want to get a coronavirus test and are being denied.

Mirabal said she visited California last weekend, developed a fever and breaking trouble but cannot get answers about how to get a test. In the meantime, she said she is remaining isolated at home.

The I-Team asked Johnson, director of community health about the struggle viewers are describing in trying to get tested.

“Oh my goodness, I am angry. I am so frustrated, extremely frustrated,” said Mirabal. “How can we not have medical assistance from an illness of this magnitude?”

People are saying they’re getting bounced around. They’re calling the Health District, and the Health District says to call your doctor. They call the doctor, and the doctor says we can’t help you. They then call a hospital.

We asked Johnson what the right thing to do is if you do feel like you are sick with the virus.

Johnson: “I mean, the right thing to do is to call your healthcare provider if you have one. If not, they can call the Health District, and we will provide guidance for what the next steps are for.”

Vanessa Murphy: “But they’re saying they’re not getting guidance, that they’re reaching dead ends.”

Johnson: “Well, I mean, we are receiving, as you might imagine, multiple calls a day, and we’re doing the best we can t try to respond to everybody’s calls and emails that we’re receiving. So, I would just suggest that they keep trying. That’s our protocol right now.”

If you want a test, you’ll be asked if you’ve traveled and where, if you had close contact with a positive case and if you have a fever and breathing trouble. You would likely first be tested for the flu and a respiratory illness before getting a coronavirus test.

LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics announced earlier this week they are offering testing through healthcare providers.

Leaders at the Health District said they are aware of that happening locally and that must be reported to the Health District. But they don’t know how many tests have been done yet through those private labs.

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