Vernon woman diagnosed with COVID-19 says she was refused test - InfoNews

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Vernon woman diagnosed with COVID-19 says she was refused test

Michelle Regnier, pictured here with her family, says she has symptoms of COVID-19 but was not officially tested at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/ Michelle Regnier
March 20, 2020 - 6:15 PM

Michelle Regnier hasn’t seen her family in three days. Her husband texts her outside of her bedroom door when her food is ready. It’s left by the door.

Regnier, 55, started feeling under the weather Thursday, March 12. At first, she had no identifiable symptoms, she just felt “unwell,” she said.

By Friday morning, she had a cough and sore throat, and by Saturday she woke up with a massive headache and a severely sore throat. She was taken by ambulance to Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Tuesday, March 17, where doctors told her she had COVID-19 after taking some blood work and performing a chest x-ray, she said.

“The doctor said ‘I’m sure you have the virus, but we’re not swabbing anybody’ and I said ‘why?’”

Regnier said she was told the test takes a number of days to complete and that the hospital doesn’t have enough test kits for everyone.

“They didn’t officially test me,” she said.

Regnier wants to be tested, to help her convince other people she's been in contact with to self-isolate, but also to be able to accurately reflect the number of cases in the Interior.

Her case raises questions about who is being tested and why and how those numbers are reflected in public reporting of the spread of the virus. Public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at a press conference today while answering similar questions that not everyone who presents symptoms or even gets a diagnosis will be tested.

She said everyone admitted to hospital for treatment for respiratory symptoms will be tested.

“Anybody who is in hospital or needs hospital care will be tested for this for sure," she said. "That’s part of our priority because we want to be sure we know what we’re dealing with and it will change their management because she may be sick with something else and may require different treatment."

"The focus right now is on testing people who are part of our outbreaks, including any health care workers so we can be sure it’s not transmitted in any health care setting and people can get back to work, as well as clusters and outbreaks in long term care facilities."

Regnier was not admitted to hospital so she wasn't tested.

Interior Health said any assertion there aren't enough test kits is incorrect. 

READ MORE: Confused about your responsibilities to stay home? Dr. Bonnie Henry clarifies

They gave her amoxicillin and inhaler prescriptions, a pamphlet on what to do, and told her to self-isolate, she said through tears.

Regnier hasn’t been outside of the Okanagan, and she doesn’t know where the symptoms came from.

She went to a book club in Kelowna near the beginning of the month, but she could have gotten it from a shopping cart for all she knows, she said.

Regnier had H1N1 in 2011, but said her symptoms are much worse than what she previously experienced with that flu.

“It came on so fast and was so bad. The coughing, oh my god you can’t catch your breath,” she said. “It’s so scary, I just kept thinking about my kids and my grandkids."

She said her son, 36, is now displaying symptoms but he lives in a basement suite below them.

Regnier decided to post about her experience on Facebook to encourage others to treat this pandemic seriously.

Without a confirmed diagnosis, she feels she's on her own in informing others who were in contact with her to self-isolate.

“If you’ve been around me during those times, please self isolate so it doesn’t keep spreading,” she said. “That’s the main thing, we have to stop it from spreading."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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