St. Lucie tennis pro says he received COVID-19 test ‘through a favor’ after not meeting requirements

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That test came back positive after just one day.

St. Lucie County tennis pro Fabio Vasconcellos has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. But the manner in which he got tested may raise eyebrows for some.

According to TCPalm, Vasconcellos says he was initially denied a test because he did not meet the necessary criteria. The 56-year-old now teaches tennis in the area.

But Vasconcellos was able to receive a test one day after being denied thanks to “a favor,” according to the outlet. Vasconcellos did not specify how he obtained that favor.

Despite President Donald Trump’s repeated assertions that anyone who wants a test can have one, Florida and other states still lack the supplies to test anyone who requests a test, even if they may be showing symptoms.

That’s led some individuals to be turned away from available testing sites. Vasconcellos was included in that group — until he eventually wasn’t. Vasconcellos said he got his results back in just a day, despite individuals waiting an average of three to five days, according to TCPalm.

The Department of Health (DoH) lays out guidelines for who may receive a test, though testing sites around the state have operated with somewhat different restrictions due to their respective supply thresholds.

The DoH suggests that a patient must be exhibiting symptoms in order to receive a test. But that alone is not sufficient.

Symptomatic patients who have had close contact with a confirmed case, or are hospitalized with respiratory issues, are eligible for a test. Individuals who have traveled to an area with “widespread community transmission,” or those who have recently taken a cruise can also receive a test. Finally, those 65 or older or immunocompromised individuals may also qualify.

According to TCPalm, Vasconcellos did not fit the bill and his symptoms reportedly only lasted one day.

Nevertheless, he received a test and state data now appears to categorize him as having contact with a confirmed case.

Some have criticized higher-profile individuals — such as a series of NBA players — for having access to the test while other more vulnerable populations do not.

Florida has been expanding testing in the last two weeks. That’s in part driving the increase in confirmed cases throughout the state.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


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