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Linda Vista woman receives drive-through coronavirus test

70-year-old initially denied COVID-19 test at Sharp urgent care

SAN DIEGO — A 70-year-old, retired nurse who initially was denied a coronavirus test at a local urgent care has now been tested.

The Linda Vista resident thought she had COVID-19 symptoms, but she did not meet CDC criteria to get tested.  So, she was denied a test at Sharp Rees-Stealy in downtown San Diego.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, contacted News 8 and the station reported her story Thursday evening.

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On Friday morning, the woman received word from Sharp Healthcare that she would be tested, after all.

“A very charming, wonderful nurse called me this morning and said we'd like to test you,” the Linda Vista resident said.

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A nurse wearing a surgical mask administered the drive-through COVID-19 test in the parking structure of the company's downtown urgent care facility.  The patient stayed in the driver’s seat as her nose was swabbed.

“They place a swab up your nose and then they also swab the throat.  Then they put that in a tube and that will go to the lab,” she said.

Earlier this week, a doctor at the urgent care examined the ex-nurse and recommended she be tested for coronavirus because she had symptoms.  Additionally, she recently had traveled to Las Vegas.

“I’m old and I was around Chinese nationals in a crowded, public place for a short period of time (in Las Vegas).  I had the fever and I had the tight chest and coughing.  So, that concerned me,” the woman said.

Her test initially was denied because she did not meet CDC criteria for a test:  She had not traveled to a risky country.  She had no contact with an infected person.  And, she was not suffering from respiratory problems like pneumonia.

That's when the retired nurse called News 8.  A news producer emailed Sharp Healthcare and also inquired about her case during a County of San Diego coronavirus news conference Thursday afternoon.

Twenty-four hours later, Sharp Healthcare changed its position and agreed to give her the drive-through test.

Sharp Healthcare said it was following CDC guidelines.  COVID-19 tests currently are in short supply.

“I have nothing bad to report about Sharp.  I think it's a good organization.  I have been treated well by them and it's not their fault that the tests were so rationed,” said the retired nurse on Friday.

She has agreed to share with News 8 her test results, which are due back in three to four days.

Meanwhile, San Diego County and the federal government plan to open drive-through COVID-19 testing sites in the near future.