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Health-care workers sidelined by COVID-19 testing slowdown

A Grand Island woman has been isolated with four family members for nine days. She does not know when she will be able to get back to her job.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jessica Campbell-Lewis is still feeling the effects of something for more than a week. 

“Still short of breath. The fever’s gone but I’m still short of breath, still coughing,” Campbell-Lewis said.

The geriatric care adviser from Grand Island thinks it may be COVID-19 that’s slowing her down. A chest X-ray showed no pneumonia. An influenza test came back negative.

Campbell-Lewis and her doctor both think a coronavirus test is needed, but after multiple phone calls to the Erie County and New York State Health Department, she’s been told she’ll have to wait.

“I was notified yesterday by my primary care provider that (the Erie County Public Health Laboratory) ran out of tests and it would be a few more days,” Campbell-Lewis said.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz acknowledged Wednesday evening that testing has hit a slowdown. Poloncarz says because of a national shortage in testing supplies, the lab only has enough to process samples from patients currently scheduled for testing.

And Campbell-Lewis is not the only local healthcare worker sidelined.

2 On Your Side has learned of another healthcare worker who was tested on Monday. (We are not disclosing the health-care worker’s name by their request.) Test results may not be available until Friday.

Also, because of close contact with three others in the healthcare field, all four are sidelined at home until test results come in.

Campbell-Lewis has been isolated with four family members for nine days, and does not know when she’ll be able to get back to her job.

“If I’m not positive, I need to get back out there. I need to start doing what it is that I do for a living for my geriatric patients.”

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