A nurse’s reflections on the dreaded COVID-19 while waiting to be tested

The author at the emergency room.

By Lindy Rosales

I have been having chills since the previous Saturday but with no fever. I take the subway to work, pass by Grand Central terminal where a lawyer from New Rochelle, who tested positive for COVID-19, also takes his subway train.

I called two private doctors to see if I could be tested for COVID-19. I was informed they didn’t have the test kits. I went to the ER where I was seen, and was informed I did not meet the criteria for testing. I asked for a flu test, and it was done by my doctor. My results came back fast in 1 1/2 hour. My flu test was negative so I didn’t need Tamiflu. No need to wear mask, no infection, and I was declared ‘clear.’ So it was with a clear conscience that I attended the first livestreaming event at the Philippine Consulate, “Tsismisan: Using your voice for the good.”

This event was closed to the public, but members of the media were allowed to cover. It was a lively conversation where young professionals urge Filipinos and FilAms to get their voices heard, register to vote, and fill out the 2020 census form.

The following morning we continued our hunt for Clorox wipes.Boyet Loverita, a GMA Pinoy TV news stringer, went to his local Costco in New Rochelle to stock up on supplies. He got paper towels, toilet paper, some groceries and was told the store was out of Clorox wipes but was expecting a shipment in three days. Finally, he went to a 99 Cents store a few blocks away and found a gallon of bleach. No Clorox wipes or hand sanitizers in the store.

A deserted Times Square. Photos by Lindy Rosales

Josef Hermosilla of Pennsylvania reported that people were also buying up supplies in bulk at the local Walmart at Warminster. There were no Clorox wipes available on store shelves.

As I listened to the news and scoured social media for updates on the pandemic by mid-afternoon, I came across a message from my Facebook  Messenger group, the Agusan Agusanon Association, asking if anybody has been to the Philippine Consulate lately. I was told the Consulate is on lockdown as somebody from the Philippine Mission tested positive for COVID-19 and the staff is on self-quarantine. The Consulate released the statement below:

12 March 2020, New York. — A staff of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations has tested positive today for the COVID-19 virus. Deputy Permanent Representative Kira D. Azucena, Charge d Affaires, a.i. of the Mission, immediately advised the United Nations medical director’s office of this development, as well as the NYC health department…

As of today, the Philippine Center in New York housing the Philippine Mission is on lockdown until further notice and its employees have been instructed to self-quarantine and to seek medical attention should they develop the symptoms.

The staff currently isolated is in good condition. She last visited the United Nations last Monday, March 9, for about 30 minutes — from 12.50 to 1.20 pm. She was asymptomatic then. The following day, Tuesday, March 10, she came down with flu-like symptoms and, in accordance with the Mission’s office protocol, did not report for work that day and saw her doctor. She tested positive for flu and was prescribed Tamiflu. She got the call today that she tested positive for COVID-19.”

Lines to the register counter at a Costco store in Yonkers.

This opened up in me a floodgate of questions: Do I self-quarantine? What about the three people in my house?  

It has been a confusing time. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had announced 39 more new cases recently. A one-mile containment area was opened in New Rochelle, which was declared a hot spot with 98 cases as of last count. The National Guard has been called in to assist. To be clear, containment is not a lockdown. People are still free to go wherever they want to go but cannot have large gatherings. New York City and State are unique in that the mayor and governor have been having daily public briefings and avidly communicating these to the public.  They are encouraging people to stay home if they are sick, to stagger work shifts, and work from home if possible.

Last Monday Cuomo introduced the “New York State Clean,” a 75 percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer to be produced by New York State inmates. The goal is to make 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer per week. This is the state’s effort to combat the price gouging in stores and address the shortage of cleaning supplies. New York State has a total of 212 cases as of two days ago.

© The FilAm 2020

Leave a Reply