At home with COVID-19: Family struggles to get coronavirus tests, thermometers

James and Sharrelle Higgins before a night out Feb. 15. James has been sick since March 9 and was finally diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 27.



He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 27, but Dumfries resident Jim Higgins has been sick since March 9. And he is still coughing, but has seen slight improvement, his wife, Sharrelle Higgins, tells InsideNoVa.

Jim is set to have another chest X-ray performed, she said. He has been quarantined at home since March 12. His wife and 17-year-old son have been quarantined since he tested positive.

More than a week after she was tested, Sharrelle learned Monday that the test was negative, but her temperature climbed to 101 degrees Wednesday and her doctor told her she may have been tested too early for the COVID-19 to register.

“He thinks if I was retested, I’d be tested positive,” she said.

Due to a limited number of tests, Sharrelle was informed she will not be retested. She was told she and her husband need to remain in isolation until they have gone at least three full days without symptoms and without taking any medication for symptoms. 

“I feel like I’m in a long distance relationship in the same house,” she said. 

She said they use separate rooms and bathrooms. 

“It’s just the uncertainty of knowing how long this will last,” she said. “My husband was sick for 30 days and he’s still counting. Am I going to be sick for 30 days?” 

They video call each other using Facetime, she said. Before the pandemic hit home, the couple commuted to work together, attended their son’s activities and socialized with friends. 

“We have not been able to do any of that in such a long period of time, it’s tough,” she said. 

The couple and their son have been living under the same roof separately as much as possible. 

Her son is quarantined until Saturday, after starting quarantine March 27 since he was exposed to the virus, she said. And while he may go outside for essential reasons under Virginia’s stay at home order, he will still remain isolated from his parents at home. He is not sick, she said. 

“I wouldn’t mind being stuck inside if I could normally interact with my family,” she said. “It’s become easier. We text each other.” 

Since Sharrelle shared her experience with InsideNoVa on March 31, she said people have reached out to her family and donated items, such as disinfectant wipes, thermometers, toilet paper, paper towels and food.

“There is so much kindness in this world that I wish it were on display more often,” she said. 

Sharrelle said she hopes people will follow the governor’s stay-at-home order.

“The more people don’t follow it, the longer we’re going to be in the house,” she said. “It’s important to pay attention so we can flatten the curve as much as possible and move on with our lives.” 

At home with COVID-19: Family struggles to get coronavirus tests, thermometers

(4) comments


I'm not a guinea pig. I will listen to the medical experts, not the wantabe doctors who thinks they know everything.



Brad London

Unproven and potentially dangerous.

Martin Geter

"They say taking it before the fact is good, but what do you have to lose?" - from a guy who has NO medical background, yet somehow thinks he knows more than experts in the field. Can you guess who I am referring to?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.