Hillsborough woman gets positive coronavirus results after 2 tests and 3-week wait

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It took two tests and three weeks for a 65-year-old Hillsborough County woman to get her COVID-19 results.

Darlene Ellis stayed locked up in her house for weeks as she waited for her test results. Although she felt fine, she’s now grateful she was quarantined at home the entire time.

Turns out, Ellis has tested positive for coronavirus.

“The only thing I am experiencing is a little congestion in the back of my throat,” said Ellis.

Ellis says she had the first test at CVS on July 15 and those results never came.

The second time around, CVS got her results in about 72 hours. Ellis was told she was still contagious.

“I haven’t been out except to do the test,” said Ellis. “I’ve continued to distance, even here at home, stayed on one side of the  house, not wanting to infect my significant other.”

The Hillsborough County resident is sharing her story so others wait responsibly as Florida deals with long turnaround times for coronavirus test results.

It’s a problem Governor Ron DeSantis acknowledges. He announced Monday there will be self-swab testing lanes at test sites.

“We are going to have symptomatic lanes,” Gov. DeSantis said at a news conference. “This will be people that are experiencing coronavirus symptoms or 65 or plus or both, they will be able to self-swab.”

Gov. DeSantis said during his announcement those self-swab lanes would start Tuesday.

“We have relationships with certain labs that once we get them the swabs, we usually get a 24-hour turnaround from the time the lab receives it,” he said.

Floridians say the change can’t come fast enough.

In the meantime, Ellis says she’s not sure how she was infected with the virus.

“I just want to make it clear to you that when I was out and about, I did practice all the guidelines, using my mask, the handwashing, social distancing,” said Ellis.

If you have a tip for investigator Mahsa Saeidi, send an email to MSaeidi@WFLA.com

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