Zika Confusion: Mixed messages about testing pregnant women at county health departments

Gov. Scott said "free test" but counties not ready
Posted at 4:40 PM, Aug 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 18:29:52-04

In the past 48 hours, Gov. Rick Scott offered pregnant women in Florida free testing for the Zika virus at county health departments. We put the governor's promise to the test, and based on what we saw, county health departments are working out the logistics of how to test expecting mothers.

"Anyone who's pregnant and wants to be tested for Zika can go for free to the county health department," said Governor Rick Scott.

But when we paid a visit to the Hillsborough County Health Department to see if they were ready for pregnant women to come in and get tested for Zika, we were told they didn't have the test yet, and expectant mothers should go through their doctor first.

Then we called the Health Department spokesman, who said pregnant women can call the health department's hot-line at 813-466-6650 and set up an appointment. During the appointment, they will take your sample and send it to a lab, all free of charge. However, there is still no word on how long it'll take to get your results back.

"If I don't have to be outside on the porch, it's not a place I want to be," said Allison Gorrell, who is four months pregnant.

The Zika virus is always on her mind, and so is the test.

"If they are offering tests through my doctor's office, then I probably will get tested," she said.

Moms who want the test immediately may be better off starting the testing process through their physician, while the state works out how to deliver on the governor's promise.