MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The John Hunt park drive-thru testing site in Huntsville is closed for the rest of the week due to a lack of testing kits. But that isn’t the only testing issue the Huntsville Hospital Health System is facing.
Multiple families have contacted WHNT News 19 saying they have been waiting for their COVID-19 results for nearly a week.
Carline Applewhite and her son were tested for COVID-19 Thursday after they found out a teacher at his school tested positive for the virus.
“I’m just on pins and needles. Where is my results? Please help me get clarity so I can move on,” Applewhite said.
The mom says she was told the results would be available in 24 to 72 hours. It’s been five long days.
Applewhite has MS. She canceled her specialized chemo treatment to wait and see if she has the coronavirus. “Definitely, I’m definitely up against a wall with this,” she said.
Her family isn’t alone.
“Our two children that are sick right now have ran high fevers for 5 days,” Dalia Soto said.
A few weeks ago her oldest was sick for several days with a high fever. But Soto says after jumping through multiple hoops trying to get tested, her daughter recovered, no longer had symptoms and wasn’t allowed to be tested.
Now Soto says the other two children are sick at home. She had one of them tested Thursday and is still waiting on the results.
“It’s very hard. You want to try and help them feel better, but just not knowing what they have…” She worries about which medicines are appropriate to give them.
The Huntsville Hospital Health System says it cannot guarantee how quickly results will be available from the commercial lab due to state nationwide demand.
Madison County leaders indicated at a briefing Tuesday our area’s case numbers have not peaked yet.
“Most of the modeling seems to indicate that we can expect our surge, if we’re going to have one, in about two weeks time,” said Dr. Pam Hudson, Crestwood Medical Center CEO.
Monday, Huntsville Hospital CEO, David Spillers, told reporters he is working to get materials to process COVID-19 tests at their own lab instead of sending them out. He says the hospital system has the capability to process tests but is having trouble getting materials.
And supplies seem to be an issue is more ways than one.
This week, the site where both Soto and Applewhite’s families were tested, John Hunt Park, is closed due to a decrease in available test kits from Huntsville Hospital’s vender.
Spillers acknowledged Monday the importance of testing availability.
“Not having adequate testing supplies hurts our entire community. We need to diagnose people as quickly as possible also get them isolated. And without appropriate testing you cant do that,” Spillers said.
The hospital has not determined if the John Hunt testing site will reopen next week.
A representative from the Alabama Department of Public Health told WHNT News 19 people should self-quarantine while they wait for test results and should not discontinue that effort until they have been advised its safe to do so by a doctor, a representative from where they were tested or ADPH.