The comedian said doctors couldn't administer a COVID-19 test for her because her symptoms didn't exactly match the prerequisite criteria

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 27, 2020 01:05 PM
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Kathy Griffin is back home and on the mend after displaying novel coronavirus (COVID-19)–like symptoms earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the comedian, 59, told her followers on social media that she visited the emergency room after experiencing “unbearably painful” symptoms, including nausea, diarrhea, chills and a sore throat. Griffin posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed wearing a mask, writing that she wasn’t administered a COVID-19 test because her symptoms didn’t match specific criteria.

“I was sent to the #COVID19 isolation ward room in a major hospital ER from a separate urgent care facility after showing UNBEARABLY PAINFUL symptoms,” she wrote. “The hospital couldn’t test me for #coronavirus because of CDC (Pence task force) restrictions. #TESTTESTTEST”

Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, ‬Griffin recounted her medical experience, which occurred within 14 days of returning from a trip to Mexico with her husband Randy Bick.

“The doctor was going through the boxes and going through the boxes [on a form] and she kept saying, like, ‘Ugh, because of the lungs, the fever and the kind of cough … you don’t meet the CDC requirements,’” said Griffin.

FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO

Rather than be admitted to the hospital, Griffin said she opted to self-isolate at home instead.

“The realization,” she said, “when they told me the guidelines was, ‘Wow … I now know not to come back unless my lungs are full with what feels like pieces of shattered mirror, unless I can’t breathe and unless my fever is 103. … They’re not making the rules at all. That’s a frightening feeling.”

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Griffin told the L.A. Times that it’s “obvious” that COVID-19 tests need to “be accessible to everybody.”

“A lot of people, when they hear the president saying everyone who needs a test should get one, then shouldn’t have to then go to a hospital where, frankly, they may be exposing themselves or exposing others,” she said. “Hopefully sooner than later you can either go to a pharmacy and get one or they could deliver one at home, something like that.”

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Describing the “corona ward” she went to, Griffin said she imagined she’d be “walking into the white suits with blue-taped ceilings,” but it was much different.

“I kind of expected them to put me in a shower room and all that — but as recently as [Tuesday], there’s no cavalry that’s coming in handing out millions of [test] swabs,” she said, adding that the specialists who assisted her were “really smart, incredibly brave people.”

According to data compiled by The New York Times, there have been 85,724 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and 1,275 deaths, as of March 27.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.