Local doctor tests positive for COVID-19, frustrated with testing process

A local healthcare professional in our area has tested positive for COVID-19. 

On Monday, March 16, Dr. Vanessa Barrow thought she had a cold or allergies and didn’t think much of it.

"Post-nasal drip, runny nose, if I had a cough it was because of post-nasal drip which is common," Dr. Barrow said. 

Two days later, the body aches and fatigue came and raised a red flag.  She checked her temperature, twice and realized she had a low-grade fever of 100.8 degrees.  At that point, she knew something else was wrong and tried to get a COVID-19 test.

First, she went to the Tidwell drive-thru center.

"I still had a fever at that point. But when I got there, they had closed testing because they ran out," Barrow said.

On Friday, March 20, she got the test done. She received her positive results on March 26. By then, she had been tested again, which came back negative before she got her positive result.

Dr. Barrow says the slow turn-around rate is problematic for those who aren’t responsibly self-quarantining. 

"I thought, hey I'm a doctor. I have symptoms. I potentially exposed many patients and people. I thought it was a no brainer," she said. "But when you can have celebrities get tested and have results in 24 hours and professional sports teams get their results in 24 hours -- the resources are there, absolutely. I just think it comes with a cost."

Dr. Barrow is a foot and ankle specialist and owns a private practice called Sole Aesthetic. Because she hasn't been seeing any patients, she had to lay off all her employees. 

She also recently lost her 52-year-old uncle to the virus. Barrow said he was healthy and did not have any pre-existing conditions. 

Barrow is also a mother to two young children and is now having to home-school them as she recovers from the virus. In the two and a half week period before her fever started, Barrow says she went to the gym, the grocery store, visited two nursing homes, saw multiple patients at her office every day, and even performed surgery. 

Although her fever went away in less than three days, her symptoms changed in week two. Barrow began losing her sense of taste and smell, and thus, her appetite that hasn’t returned since. 

"It just feels like my tastebuds are numb. You cant taste anything you're drinking. You can't taste anything you're eating. The smell - it smells like nothing. If I were cooking, I would have no idea how it came out," Barrow said. 

She’s now urging people to take warnings seriously and realize how easily COVID-19 can spread. Dr. Barrow tested negative for COVID-19 earlier this week, which she says, makes her past the transmissible stage. 

When she comes out of quarantine this Wednesday with no issues, she’ll then be considered “recovered.”