After struggling to get COVID-19 test results for days, the family of a Manassas man learned Sunday that he has tested positive for coronavirus.
Titou Phommachanh has started an experimental drug treatment at Inova Fairfax Hospital, according to his wife, Amanda Phommachanh, who spoke with InsideNoVa on Monday.
The couple has been married for more than 12 years and has three daughters, ages 6, 7 and 9.
The family waited for days for test results for Titou, 44, but only received them after an NBC4 report on Amanda’s concern about delays.
“It’s been frustrating and devastating,” she told InsideNoVa.
After having flu-like symptoms for about eight days, during which time he tested negative for the flu, Titou was tested for COVID-19 on Thursday, March 12, around 10 a.m. On Monday, Amanda Phommachanh said she still doesn’t have the results of that original test.
Instead, she says Gov. Ralph Northam ordered a new test after Amanda asks friends to reach out to the governor and a report from NBC4. Amanda Phommachanh said she received the test results Sunday, March 15, around 11:30 a.m.
“It’s devastating. We feel helpless,” she said.
Since receiving a positive test result for coronavirus, medical staff have begun Titou on a 10-day regiment of an experimental drug for coronavirus, his wife said.
The couple returned from a three-day trip to New York on March 1. Three days later, Amanda said her husband started having flu-like symptoms. She said in total he had eight days of flu-like symptoms before he experienced respiratory problems; that part came “quick and hard,” she said.
She said her husband walked into the hospital Wednesday, March 11, and about a day later, he needed a ventilator to breathe.
Amanda said she and her daughters are under self-quarantine. Her oldest daughter was tested Friday due to an elevated fever, and they are waiting on those results. The rest of the family will not be tested until they are showing symptoms.
BROAD TESTING FRUSTRATIONS
Titou and Amanda aren’t the only people in Northern Virginia struggling with a lag in getting test results.
Dr. Michael McDermott, president and CEO of Mary Washington Healthcare and chairman of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association’s COVID-19 committee described the lack of test kits as “a national disgrace” in an interview with The Free Lance-Star on Saturday.
Virginia has been allocated a limited number of tests — “it’s not in the thousands, it’s in the hundreds,” McDermott said.
After contradictory information from federal officials about access to testing over the past several days, Admiral Brett Giroir with the Department of Health and Human Services said during a White House press conference Sunday that a massive expansion is expected this week.
“So we’re going from somewhat manual, relatively slow phases, to a testing regimen that we can test many tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of individuals per week and maybe even more,” Giroir said. “We will have 1.9 million of these high-throughput tests available this week with numerous labs, up to 2,000, starting to turn the lights on beginning this week and rolling out over the week.”