UF law student from Jacksonville ordered to self-quarantine

22-year-old says she came down with a fever and cough, but she has been unable to get tested for COVID-19 because she didn’t meet the CDC criteria

Christine DiPaolo
Christine DiPaolo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 22-year-old University of Florida law student from Jacksonville is now in quarantine, along with her family, after she suddenly came down with a fever, shortness of breath, coughing and headaches.

This week, Christine DiPaolo and her parents have tried to get her tested for the new coronavirus, but she said there has been mixed information between her primary doctor, a teledoctor and an emergency room.

Christine DiPaolo, who already suffers from asthma, told News4Jax that her condition appears to be getting worse. She struggled to talk during her internet conversation Monday evening with News4Jax because her illness has made it hard for her to breathe. She said it all started Sunday night while watching television with her family.

“All of sudden, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. So I ran upstairs and got my inhaler and took a few puffs, but it didn’t help,” DiPaolo recounted.

By Monday, she had a fever, uncontrollable coughing, headaches, fatigue and she continued to struggle to breathe. DiPaolo said she called her primary care doctor to see if she could get tested for the flu.

“They refused to see me until I was triaged by a nurse at Mayo (Clinic). I spent two hours on the phone with them, and when I finally got through, the nurse highly recommended that I get tested for coronavirus,” she said.

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DiPaolo said she was referred to an emergency room, where she met with a doctor. She said she learned she couldn’t get tested for the new coronavirus because she didn’t meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria.

“Unfortunately, he said that because I have not traveled outside the country or had direct contact with a person who is known to have the virus, I would not be able to be tested. He also said he was pretty confident that I have the virus," DiPaolo said.

In fact, the doctor wrote in her release hospital release papers that she understands she may indeed have COVID-19. She said the doctor ordered her to self-quarantine for 14 days. DiPaolo said her family took her to a Baptist Health hospital, where she said she was again told that she didn’t meet the CDC criteria to be tested because she never left the country nor had she been in contact with a person known to carry the coronavirus.

DiPaolo said, if she is infected with COVID-19, she likely got it while either being in contact with a friend who had recently been on a cruise or while she was recently in Orlando.

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