A Columbus family that has been waiting more than a week for COVID-19 test results has received some good news.
Sheli and Kevin Hankins and their two children were among the first tested for the virus at a drive-through site in Columbus.
All four results came back negative, the family tells News 3.
“We are so thankful for the support that we have received from the community,” Sheli Hankins told News 3 Wednesday morning via phone.
Because she was hoarse from the illness that has run through their family, she struggled to get the words out.
“People reached out with prayers, notes, cards, emails, encouragement, food,” she said. “People who we did not even know left food on our front porch. One thing we have learned is Columbus is a community that takes care of each other.”
As of Tuesday night, there had been almost 5,500 tests in Georgia, according to the Department of Public Health. Nearly 1,100 of those people tested positive, according to DPH.
The family went to Orlando and spent the first week of March in the four Disney theme parks, which have since closed. When they drove home on March 9, all four of them were ill with flu-like symptoms.
Kevin Hankins and their son saw a doctor in Columbus on March 10. That doctor ordered COVID-19 testing for the two after they tested negative for the flu.
They have been in self-quarantine in their home since March 10. The whole family was tested for the virus on Monday, March 16, a week after they got home from Orlando. They all were sick with fever, coughs, achiness and other flu-like symptoms.
The negative test results came back March 23 and March 24, a week or more after the testing,
Nobody in the family is running a fever, Sheli said Wednesday. The teenage son, who was the first to become ill, is feeling much better. The others still have coughs. Their family doctor has told them to remain in isolation for three days after they are symptom-free.
“We plan to do that,” Kevin Hankins said.
He said they have to trust the results.
“The testing part of this has been frustrating,” he said. “You really feel like they have been flying blind. We are worried about false-negative tests.”
Even when they come out of isolation, Kevin said they plan to avoid those who are at the highest risk.
“I can tell you now, social distancing will be the Gospel for us,” he said.