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Infectious disease doctor who had COVID-19 scare says testing needs to be improved

Infectious disease doctor who had COVID-19 scare says testing needs to be improved
Posted at 4:32 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 10:42:50-04

An infectious disease doctor from Virginia is sharing her COVID-19 story and says testing needs to improve.

Dr. Mary Schmidt started feeling sick when she left Aspen, Colorado, on March 1. Her symptoms included a sore throat, sneezing and burning eyes. She also needed her asthma inhaler more, but her fever never hit 100.

Once she heard about a group of people infected in Aspen, she figured she had it.

“So, I call the health department hotline and said I’m an infectious disease physician, I need to get tested and she said, ‘well you can only get tested here if you had contact with one of the people in our county’ and I thought ‘are you kidding me?’”

Dr. Schmidt’s primary doctor didn't have the means to test, so she swabbed herself and then contacted other doctors she knew to get tested.

The results came back negative, but she thinks she didn't swab hard enough. She also did an antibody test, but that didn't have clear results.

“We need to make sure we get the test really sensitive and accurate first, make sure we're understanding what’s going on, how are bodies respond to this virus, what part of the virus helps create that long term antibody, so we can test people correctly, because to be quite honest, we won’t be able to pick a group vaccine that’s going to be protective if we don’t understand that piece,” said Dr. Schmidt.

Dr. Schmidt is now working with companies to make better testing tools.