• A nurse in self-quarantine penned an anonymous open letter, condemning the delay in coronavirus testing for healthcare workers who contract the disease.
  • The nurse wrote she started feeling sick after caring for a patient who tested positive for the virus.
  • She said she was wait-listed for receiving a coronavirus testing kit, as the CDC was prioritizing running samples by severity of the illness with so few tests available to give out per day.
  • “This is not the ticket dispenser at the deli counter; it’s a public health emergency!” she wrote in the letter. “I am a registered nurse, and I need to know if I am positive before going back to caring for patients.”
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A California nurse who went into self-quarantine after developing symptoms fitting that of the novel coronavirus — which causes the disease named COVID-19 — condemned the delay in testing for healthcare workers, saying she can’t protect her patients if she can’t protect herself.

The nurse, who works at a northern California Kaiser facility, anonymously penned an open letter after she claimed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put her on a wait list for a coronavirus testing kit.

“This is not the ticket dispenser at the deli counter; it’s a public health emergency!” she wrote in the letter. “I am a registered nurse, and I need to know if I am positive before going back to caring for patients.”

The nurse wrote she started feeling sick after caring for a patient who tested positive for the virus.

“I volunteered to be on the care team for this patient, who we knew was positive,” the nurse wrote. “I did this because I had all the recommended protective gear and training from my employer. I did this assuming that if something happened to me, of course I too would be cared for.”

She said the CDC was prioritizing running samples by severity of the illness, since there are so few tests available to give out per day. However, the nurse emphasized that health care officials more immediate results in order to get back to caring for their patients.

“I am appalled at the level of bureaucracy that’s preventing nurses from getting tested,” she wrote. “That is a health care decision my doctor and my county health department agree with. Delaying this test puts the whole community at risk.”

As of Thursday, the death toll for the coronavirus surpassed 3,300, with nearly 98,000 cases confirmed worldwide. In the US, there are at least 221 cases, with 12 deaths — 11 in Washington state and one in California.

—Bonnie Castillo (@NNUBonnie) March 5, 2020

On March 5, Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the coronavirus task force in the US, confirmed that there are not enough tests to meet the demand, but he hoped there would be in the coming weeks.

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