Robin Marcato barely slept Sunday night.
She has had difficulty breathing, a dry cough and body aches.
“I feel like crap, but I’m not in the hospital,” the Danville resident said during a telephone interview Tuesday.
Marcato is awaiting results after being tested for the coronavirus Tuesday afternoon. She expects to know by Monday whether she has the disease known as COVID-19.
So far, the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District has reported two COVID-19 cases in Danville.
There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pittsylvania County.
Also, a Gretna man, 66-year-old Landon Spradlin, died at about 4 a.m. Wednesday in Concord, North Carolina, after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Pittsylvania-Danville Health District Dr. Scott Spillmann could not answer questions about Marcato’s case.
“Unfortunately, we are not aware of this person’s situation,” Spillmann wrote in an email.
Marcato, who started having symptoms at her home Sunday, said it felt like “having an arthritis attack all over.”
She didn’t think it was the coronavirus at first.
“It was in my back, my hips, my hands, neck and feet,” she said. “I started to shake and my skin felt funny. I rarely, if ever, get fevers, so it was a huge warning sign.”
Her temperature soared from 99 to 103 within an hour, she said.
“I made my daughter dinner and went to bed a little early,” she said. “I barely slept that night.”
The next day, a doctor told her she likely had COVID-19, but didn’t recommend a test since she hadn’t traveled out of the country and didn’t know anyone who had it.
But the next day, the doctor sent her to get tested.
“They’ve decided traveling all over the 5th [Congressional] District counts as ‘recently traveled,’” she posted Tuesday on Facebook.
However, she said she had been self- quarantining for several weeks because she has an autoimmune disorder, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects the body’s connective tissues including the skin, joints and blood vessel walls.
“I’m immunocompromised,” said Marcato, 47.
When she tried to get tested Tuesday at MedExpress in Danville, they would not accept her version of Medicaid. She would have to pay a $129 fee for an evaluation and then the costs for the test itself out of pocket, she said she was told.
She refused and got tested at another facility instead.
Annie Jamieson, spokeswoman for MedExpress in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, said the company screens patients to make sure they meet criteria under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before they’re tested.
“Screening is conducted by a member of our team and patients are evaluated prior to testing,” Jamieson wrote via email Wednesday.
Criteria from the CDC, which were posted on MedExpress’ website, include:
- Patients with shortness of breath, fever, cough, ear ache, runny nose, sneezing or who believe they have been exposed to
- Those who have traveled outside the U.S. or recently to areas within the country with high community spread;
- Close contact with someone in the past two weeks who has been confirmed to have COVID-19;
- Health care workers who have had close contact with someone in the past two weeks either suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19;
- Those 60 years or older with a chronic medical condition;
- Those with a suppressed immune system, HIV or pregnancy.
Jamieson did not say how much a coronavirus test costs but said it’s a good idea for patients to check with their insurance providers to learn whether they will cover the test.
For Marcato, the first night of her symptoms was the worst, psychologically.
“I sort of went into the whole panic scenario,” Marcato said. “What would happen to my daughter? Would my house be clean enough if I died?”
She said she doesn’t want to be in a situation where she has to draw up a will.
“I’m not overly focused on preparing for death,” she said. “I’m scared, but there’s nothing I can do about it except wait. Let go and let God.”
Dr. Mary Schmidt, infectious disease specialist with Schmidt & Libby Advisory Group in Northern Virginia, said fears from COVID-19 can increase anxiety over what it could do to loved ones.
“They’re afraid if their loved ones get sick, they could die,” Schmidt said.
Ways to cope include physical exercise, meditation, attending church services online (if churches are closed), talking to religious leaders over the phone and calling friends, she said.
Fear can be just as contagious as the virus itself, Marcato said.
“If we focus on the good things we can do for each other and working together to make sure we’ll survive, that’s the most important thing,” Marcato said.
She expects her test results Monday.
Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.