“I’ve never had a sickness where I could not fall asleep laying down, so this was very scary,” said Erika Almiron, a longtime immigrants' rights activist who, for many years, ran the grassroots group known as Juntos.
Two weekends ago, she was in Arizona for work, and the day she returned she felt ill.
“It started with a sore throat, that then developed into feelings of weakness and my body ached, a dry cough and fever and shortness of breath,” she explained.
Almiron said one night, she couldn’t breathe lying down, so she called her primary care physician, who declined to recommend a coronavirus test.
Instead, she was prescribed an inhaler.
Almiron said she couldn’t afford the fee for urgent care, so after a second call to her doctor — who again refused to recommend coronavirus testing — she called the city’s coronavirus hotline.
“Through the screening process they said yes, come and get the test,” Almiron said.
She and her boyfriend — who also has a fever, dry cough and feels fatigue — were able to take a drive-thru swab test at a West Philadelphia site 30 minutes later.
“My concern is, we don’t know how many people have it, because we’re not testing,” Almiron said.
Almiron, whose elderly father is a lung cancer survivor, said results take five days so they won't get their results before Friday.
So all she can do is wait.
"I've been self-quarantined for over seven days, so I'm getting a little stir crazy,” she added.
And for those who believe they are high risk, “Call your doctors and try to get a test or call the hotline,” she said.
For a list of testing sites in Philadelphia, click here.