An Oklahoma woman who contracted the novel coronavirus encouraged others to “listen to your gut” if they are showing signs of COVID-19, claiming she received three false negatives when she was tested for the virus despite being symptomatic and later testing positive.
Lesley Shollmier, of Tulsa, Okla., said she came down with “cold-like” symptoms on Nov. 23, shortly before Thanksgiving Day. Shollmier planned to spend the holiday with her family, so she decided to get a rapid COVID-19 test at a local emergency room, which read negative, she told local news station KTUL.
Despite the negative test, Shollmier said her symptoms continued to worsen, with her condition taking a particularly downhill turn the day after Thanksgiving.
“Friday morning after Thanksgiving, I woke up and tried to make myself some tea and I couldn’t smell anything,” Shollmier told KTUL. “I immediately knew this is COVID. I just knew that that was one of the classic symptoms and regardless of anything, I have to have it.”
She then went to a local clinic to receive a PCR test — this test detects genetic virus material and requires several days before receiving results — but claims this test also proved negative. Shollmier said that another PCR test was also negative, leading to her three consecutive negative tests.
The Oklahoma woman claims she then reached out to her primary care physician to receive a fourth test, as “I knew in my gut I had it” despite the three negatives, she said.
She was tested for the fourth time on the 10th day she was experiencing symptoms. Two days later, she received a positive result.
“Don’t trust a negative COVID test if you have the symptoms [of the virus] — especially that loss of taste and smell — you have to stay home,” Shollmier told the news station.
“Listen to your gut,” she said. “Know when you’re sick and when you need to stay home. Just because you get that negative test doesn’t mean that you’re negative.”
Rapid coronavirus tests are thought to be less accurate because they are not as sensitive as a traditional test, as they may miss low levels of the virus.
A molecular test, also known as the RT-PCR test, nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), or diagnostic test, detects the virus’s genetic material and typically can take a day up to a week to receive results. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that this test is highly accurate and usually does not need to be repeated; it’s not clear why the PCR tests in Shollmier’s case resulted in false negatives.
Fox News’ Amy McGorry contributed to this report.