Former nurse says there are not enough kits to test coronavirus

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Former registered nurse Annie Wenz sits at her laptop to look at information sent to her by the health department regarding coronavirus. Credit: WINK News.

A former nurse says she’s worried some people might not get tested if they fear they have coronavirus (COVID-19). She says it all comes down to insurance and the number of kits available.

Annie Wenz, who was a registered nurse for almost 40 years, worries there are not enough kits to go around to test for coronavirus.

“I’m aware of the system and aware how to make recommendations,” Wenz said.

But even she can’t make sense of who to talk to about coronavirus and testing.

Wenz started digging after since some of her fellow traveling musicians are part of a vulnerable group of people.

“In the artist community, very, very many people are uninsured,” Wenz said.

So she started making calls to see where people could turn for help if they see symptoms. She called the CDC and told us she did not get answers. Then, she tried the health department in Lee County.

“I said, ‘Hi, I’m calling back. Do you have test kits,’” Wenz said. “And he said, ‘No, we do not, and I said, ‘Well, what do I do?’ and he said, ‘Call the COVID hotline in Tallahassee.”

So Wenz made that call, then added two Lee Health emergency rooms to her call list.

“That is a horrible disservice because people who are sick are going to be out there because testing kits are not available,”” Wenz said. “It’s inexcusable.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this week the state’s expanded coronavirus testing capabilities to private labs such as Quest and Lab Corp.

“We need testing kits, and we need them yesterday,” Wenz said.

Current Florida health department guidelines say anyone who fears they may have coronavirus are to call their local health department first. The health department then decides whether someone should be tested. That’s also true of patients who go to the hospital.

President Donald Trump announced earlier this week anyone who needs to be tested will do so free of charge.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.