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Richmond woman who believes she has COVID-19 told there are no tests available

"I mean we've reached out to everyone and nobody is able to help or direct us to what to do."
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Posted at 11:34 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 23:34:50-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond woman who is exhibiting signs of COVID-19 has been told that there are no tests available.

Frustrated with no where else to turn, Tiffany Hill spoke to CBS 6 through Facetime on Friday. For the past week, she has shown symptoms of COVID-19 and believes that she has the virus.

"Well I've been sick now for over a week," Hill said. "The cough, the respiratory conditions, difficulty breathing and the fever."

Hill said she called her doctor this week who recommended she go to the hospital.

After two trips to the emergency room, she tested negative for the flu and strep throat, but was told by two local hospitals that there are no tests available for the novel coronavirus.

"The doctor said I probably do have the coronavirus," Hill said. "We're probably all spreading it amongst each other through the community."

She's concerned now for herself and others who might have the same symptoms.

"We've gone through all of the proper channels," Hill said. "I mean we've reached out to everyone and nobody is able to help or direct us to what to do."

Richmond health leaders told CBS 6 that people must meet a certain criteria in order to get tested. That includes having a high fever, a known travel history, having been hospitalized with severe symptoms or in a community filled with the virus.

Meanwhile President Trump announced Friday that half a million test kits will be available across the nation starting next week. But those tests will only be available to people who health professional strongly believe may have the virus.

"There's a lot of sick people out there with a lot of the same symptoms and I'm just wondering how many us have it already that's just spreading it around," Hill said.

Virginia health officials reminds individuals to take the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.