When Florida Gov. Rick Scott made free Zika testing available to all pregnant Floridians through the Florida Department of Health, I was one of the more than 2,200 women who took him up on the offer.
My station’s main studios are five blocks south of the Wynwood Zika zone, an area that authorities are recommending pregnant women avoid (though the advisory was updated to a less dire warning on Monday). As it turned out, I had been inside the suspected transmission zone before we knew the risks.
So on the morning of Aug. 12, I went to my obstetrician’s office, gave blood and urine samples and was told that it would take about seven to 10 business days to get my results.
Four and a half weeks later, I was still waiting. I had plenty of company.
My colleague Kate Stein has been helping me cover the story, whenever it veers into an area where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised pregnant women to avoid. Stein covered a Miami Beach town hall I didn’t attend. There, she met Joseph Magazine, who pleaded with officials to help his wife get her Zika test results back. She was more than five months pregnant, had experienced Zika-like symptoms a month earlier, and was waiting to hear if she had been infected.
Press releases and other communications from the Florida health department officials have repeatedly insisted it takes one to two weeks to get results.
But at another town hall, after some pushing, Dr. Lillian Rivera, head of the Miami-Dade County Department of Health, said women may wait longer. “It could be four weeks, it could be five weeks,” Rivera said. “We are preparing them for that.”
Rivera was quick to point out complete testing can take a long time, depending on the first …