Cumberland County man with COVID-19 describes difficulty getting tested

  • Rachel McDevitt/StateImpact Pennsylvania

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(Harrisburg) — A family in Cumberland County is quarantined at home after one member got sick with COVID-19.

Dominic, a 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania student, said he wouldn’t have thought to get tested for the illness if a friend hadn’t turned up positive with the coronavirus first.

He and his mother, Trina, spoke to WITF’s Smart Talk but didn’t want to use their last name because of privacy concerns.

Dominic and several friends cut short a spring break trip to Spain when President Donald Trump announced a travel ban to the United States from Europe last Wednesday.

He said he landed in New York City Thursday but wasn’t screened at the airport as he expected. He took a bus back to Philadelphia to collect his things.

It wasn’t until Sunday, when one of his friends who had been on the trip texted him that he had tested positive, that Dominic realized he might have COVID-19.

“We went straight home and started calling people to figure out where I could get tested and it was difficult,” he said.

Trina said when they went to a hospital on the advice of their family doctor, a nurse in a mask quickly ushered them back out the door.

“And made us stand far away from the emergency room door outside and within a couple minutes she came back out and immediately put masks on both of us,” she said.

They waited in an exam room for several hours before doctors decided to test Dominic. He was sent home as a presumed positive case. Test results Tuesday morning confirmed it.

Dominic said his symptoms are mild, like a common cold or allergies.

“If I felt like this during the normal school year flu season, I don’t even know if I would pop an Advil or go seek any medical attention,” Dominic said. “I don’t have a fever. I have a little bit of a cough.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists symptoms of COVID-19 as fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Dominic said state health officials told him to stay quarantined while he has symptoms, then for another two weeks after they stop.

There are 96 cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania and 10 in Cumberland County as of Tuesday afternoon.

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