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Coronavirus In Minnesota: Hospitalized 3 Times In 10 Days, Mpls. Man Still Denied COVID-19 Test

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Minneapolis man was back in the hospital Tuesday with what he says are symptoms of COVID-19.

It was Jai Bowie's third time at Methodist Hospital in ten days.

He's shared complaints of fever, dry cough, and extreme chest pain.

"My heart wasn't a total flatline [during my first visit], but it was close enough where they couldn't feel a pulse," Bowie said.

Bowie is 45 years old and healthy. The sudden downturn in his health has scared him.

Doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and did not test him for COVID-19.

Bowie says he was told his symptoms weren't conclusive enough to have a test done.

"I'm in good shape and all of a sudden I go down like that," he said. "Tells me there's something really wrong with me."

Bowie's plan Tuesday was to get admitted into the hospital, a prerequisite for having a test administered.

He doesn't fault the hospital for their unwillingness to test him because of the limited supplies available.

WCCO-TV spoke with HealthPartners about its testing capabilities, but not specifically about Bowie's situation.

"Testing got started slowly in this country," said Rick Panning, the senior administrative director for Laboratory Services for HealthPartners. HealthPartners oversees Methodist Hospital and six other hospitals. "It's stepping up gradually, but it's still not really at the level we'd like it to be."

Panning says HealthPartners is capable of running 225 COVID-19 tests a day.

He says a new shipment Wednesday will increase that number to 300.

In an ideal world, Panning says they would be able to administer 600-700 tests a day to meet demand.

"One of the companies I'm dealing with right now, they can say 'This week I can send you this many, but there's no guarantee for next week,'" Panning said.

Panning says HealthPartners is rationing tests a little bit in preparation for an expected surge next month.

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