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Kern patients say they are being denied COVID-19 testing

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Many people tell 17 news that they are being denied a COVID-19 test despite showing symptoms. 

Dave Anderson’s 18-year-old daughter started feeling sick earlier this week. 

“On monday she came down with a fever, started coughing, had a headache,” said Anderson. “It wasn’t overwhelming, but she was definitely feeling sick.”

Classic COVID-19 symptoms he thought, so he took her into Kaiser to get tested.

“[I] pulled up, [they]  asked a few questions and then when we got to the testing spot they came out and said we don’t have enough tests, [they said] we’re holding the tests for medical professionals and sent us on our way,” said Anderson.

Anderson and his daughter aren’t alone. 17 News has received multiple calls and messages from viewers who say they too have been denied a test. 

We spoke to Dr. Hemmal Kothary, chief medical officer for Dignity Health Central California Division, about the issue with the number of tests health officials say they have. 

“They are sending tests to areas that are hit the hardest and Kern County is not considered a hotspot yet, so we are getting tests, but we’re getting them extremely slow,” said Kothary.

Kothary recommends that patients who are experiencing mild symptoms just stay home and quarantine. 

“We have nothing else to offer you at this time, if you don’t need to be at the hospital, stay at home,” said Kothary.

In fact, Kothary’s recommendations fall in line with the California Public Health Department’s newly released guidelines

“Five groups that should be tested: those that are high risk with symptoms of COVID-19, residents of staff of long term facilities with symptoms, those of high risk of severe infection with symptoms, those at correctional facilities with symptoms, and finally health care personal with symptoms should be tested,” said Matt Constantine, director for the Kern County Public Health Department.

If you still need help determining if you should get tested, Dr. Kothary suggests you download Dignity Health’s app.

“If you download that you can talk to a doctor in real time and tell him your symptoms and then if he thinks you need to be tested we actually have a clinic on stockdale highway, it’s one of the dignity clinics, you can go in there and make an appointment and they will test you,” said Kothary.

Apple has also released a screening tool to help you determine whether you should request a coronavirus test. You can download it from the ios app store or go online to apple.com/covid19 to access it. The California Department of Public Health also developed its own screening test. You can find that on their website cdph.gov.ca

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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