DELAVAN — Constance Schott, 62, and her 43-year-old son have been really sick since last weekend, and she just wants to find out what’s going on.
Schott had an appointment at a UnityPoint clinic in Pekin on Thursday and asked to be tested for coronavirus. Her request was denied.
“I want people to be aware that not everybody’s getting tested even if they meet most of the criteria,” she said during a phone interview from her home in Delavan on Friday afternoon. "They need to re-think their policy."
According to officials at the Peoria City/County Health Department, coronavirus tests are in short supply and people can’t just request one. They have to meet certain criteria, and other illnesses have to be ruled out. People who are tested must fall into one of the three following categories:
Fever or symptoms of lower respiratory illness and having been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient within the last two weeks.
Fever and signs of lower respiratory infection, cough and shortness of breath, requiring hospitalization, and a history of travel from an affected geographic area in the last 14 days.
Very sick with acute respiratory problems requiring hospitalization, and other causes of illness have been ruled out.
Schott’s son farms in rural Delavan, and one of his employees recently returned from a Caribbean cruise. The family wonders if he brought the coronavirus home with him.
“They work close together when they are on the farm. At the time it sounded like he was getting a cold,” said Schott, who occasionally paused to cough during the interview. Though she’s begun to feel better in the last couple days, she said her lungs still feel heavy when she breathes.
"The cough was horrible. I was seeing sparks," she said.
Because of her son’s contact with someone who had been on a cruise, Schott thought she might fit the testing criteria. Her son hasn’t been to the doctor because he doesn’t have insurance.
"He's talked about going to the emergency room several times, but right now he can't afford to," she said.
Schott said she was examined during the doctor’s visit and tested negative for both influenza A and B. Then she was told that she wouldn't be tested for coronavirus.
"I just wanted a test to find out, so that we know, to let people know, like the school and stuff. 'Cause if we have it, then the kids have been exposed, they go to school and they take it home and older people can die."
Leslie Renken can be reached at 686-3250 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.