TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Public health experts say the COVID-19 testing process has to be reliable, and getting results fast is the key to containing this virus. But some of you have reached out to 8 On Your Side saying your test results were delayed for weeks – or you never received results at all.
It happened to one Hillsborough County woman.
“In the past, I would never have dreamed that I would need assistance,” said Diane Forrester. “I always thought I could resolve my own issues.”
But Forrester hit a brick wall after she was swabbed at Raymond James Stadium in May.
The massage therapist could not get her results on the phone or online.
Forrester lost money every single day that passed, but she didn’t want to risk infecting her clients.
“I do have some private clients and I do go into some specific hospitals to do chair massages,” Forrester told us earlier this month.
“One time, I put on the phone for 20 minutes, nobody answered,” Forrester said of her pursuit to get her results back. “Emailed them, even set up a patient account and I still get no results.”
8 On Your Side contacted the county, the state and Quest Diagnostics about the delay. The patient advocacy team at Quest Diagnostics started to research the case immediately.
Forrester says it got messy.
“Why did you have to have a second test? What happened to the first one?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.
“That’s the $64,000 question,” said Forrester.
According to Quest Diagnostics Spokeswoman Kimberly Gorode, there was a problem with Forrester’s specimen. The state should’ve notified Forrester since Quest Diagnostics sent an electronic report to the Florida Division of Emergency Management on May 14, said Gorode.
Forrester says she was never notified of an issue.
8 On Your Side reached out to state officials late Tuesday night for comment.
Meanwhile, Forrester said she had a second test on Friday. Two business days later, Quest Diagnostics sent her results.
“It’s negative, so I felt like a load has been taken off my shoulders,” said Forrester.
Forrester has now returned to work with a mask. She’s negative and she plans on staying that way.
According to the Florida Department of Health, more than 1.4 million Floridians have now had a coronavirus test. That’s roughly six percent of the state.
If you have a tip for investigator Mahsa Saeidi, send her an email at MSaeidi@WFLA.com
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