Sick Pasco Co. woman claims ER doctor told her she had coronavirus, says Health Dept. said otherwise


PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Pasco County woman is sick, confused and scared for her life after Florida doctors informed her she “likely” has the coronavirus, but wouldn’t be tested. She’s worried and wants 8 On Your Sides to help get her answers.

The woman at the center of this issue is 30-year-old Kala Houston of Pasco County. She says she doesn’t know where to turn and keeps getting sicker.

“It feels like a movie or a bad dream,” said Houston. She said she started to feel sick last week. She wanted answers about what was wrong with her so she went to the ER 24/7 walk-in clinic in Palm Harbor.

Houston said she was given a shocking diagnosis. She says a doctor at the clinic gave her this paper, which reads “You very likely have coronavirus or COVID-19”.

“They tested me for the flu, it’s not the flu,” said Houston. “My mom watched me sleep, I was wheezing all night, coughing up green and blood.”

Houston says she went to the ER 24/7 walk-in clinic in Palm Harbor on Wednesday. She claims she was told by the doctor she likely had the coronavirus, but that she didn’t meet regulations to get tested by the Centers for Disease Control. Instead, she claims she was given antibiotics and told to quarantine herself.

Then on Thursday morning, Houston says she got a call from the Florida Health Department saying they spoke with the hospital and the doctor changed his mind. Houston claims she was told the Florida Health Department doesn’t believe she has coronavirus.

8 on Your Side reached out to both the Florida Department of Health and the ER 24/7 clinic in Palm Harbor. ER 24/7 in Palm Harbor sent a statement Thursday afternoon saying:

At Medical Center of Trinity and our freestanding ERs, we treat patients with infectious diseases every day and the safety of our patients, colleagues and community are our top priority.  We follow CDC recommendations for the safety of our patients and caregivers, and evaluate patients for the coronavirus based on Health Department guidelines; further the decision to test a patient for COVID-19 is made by the County Health Department in consultation with the patient’s treatment team.  Local hospitals are unable to perform tests for COVID-19 themselves.”

Mary Sommise, Director of Marketing

Houston says doctors tell her she no longer has to be quarantined. But she says her mom is already getting sick and is worried about infecting others. Overall, she tells us she’s sick, frustrated and confused.

8 On Your Side has reached out to the Florida Health Department and have not yet heard back.

NOTE: The document obtained by 8 On Your Side contained a spelling error. A clinic spokeswoman explained that quarantine was erroneously spelled “corn teen” because many of their physicians use voice dictation.

“The process is to dictate and then review/proofread.  Unfortunately, this simple mistake was not corrected in this process.  We have already put into place using this as an awareness tool with our medical staff and the importance of that review/proofread process,” Sommise said.


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