A nurse in California who got sick after treating a coronavirus patient is now in quarantine — and she claims that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preventing her from being tested to confirm whether or not she contracted the virus known as COVID-19. The CDC tells a different story, however.
The nurse's claim: In a statement read by National Nurses Union President Deborah Burger, an anonymous nurse said the CDC refused to approve her to receive a coronavirus test because she allegedly didn't wear the proper protective gear.
After caring for a patient who tested positive for coronavirus, she became sick. So her doctor approved her for a test, and a county official agreed. When they called the CDC, the nurse claims, they hit a wall.
"They said they would not test me because if I were wearing the recommended protective equipment, then I wouldn't have the coronavirus," the nurse alleges. "What kind of science-based answer is that? What a ridiculous and uneducated response from the department that is in charge of our health in this country."
The nurse said the CDC called back later and said she would have to wait in line for a test since they are limited in number and prioritized by the severity of illness. That answer was also not satisfactory to the nurse.
"This is not the ticket dispenser at the deli counter; it's a public health emergency!" she said. "I am a registered nurse, and I need to know if I am positive before going back to caring for patients."
⚠️A nurse—exposed to #coronavirus and SICK in quarantine—hammers @CDCgov for initially REFUSING and then delaying… https://t.co/ek3bUXz6SR— Dr. Dena Grayson (@Dr. Dena Grayson) 1583449632.0
The CDC responds: In a statement to Blaze Media, the CDC denied that it would refuse to allow test a health care worker who had been exposed to the virus.
"CDC is not aware of this individual case and can't respond to specifics," the statement read. "However, CDC would most definitely recommend a health care worker who had contact with a confirmed case and then became ill be tested. At all times, clinicians have discretion to test patients based on their individual assessment of that patient's illness and risk of exposure. Our clinical team working with state and local health departments to assess Persons Under investigation has not said no to any request for testing."
What's really going on? It sounds like the issue here is one we've already been painfully aware of — there is still a serious shortage of coronavirus tests, and as a result the ones that are available have to be rationed out and prioritized. In addition to creating a situation where there are likely many more cases than we have the ability to confirm, it also means people who get sick and suspect they have the virus may have to wait for confirmation if they're able to manage their symptoms.