Terrance Hughes, co-pastor of New Covenant Christian Church / Alpha Omega Ministries Disciples of Christ who is also a candidate for Colorado House District 7, revealed he is now infected with the new coronavirus after being hospitalized three times before he was given a test for it.
Hughes made the statement on his Facebook page Sunday, criticizing the limited access to testing for the virus in the U.S. which reports say has resulted in delays in the nation’s response to the pandemic.
“I have been diagnosed with the Covid19 virus. Making this announcement was not easy. I wanted to both be honest with those who have come into contact with me and also keep family safe and protected,” Hughes began in his statement in which he revealed he had made a commitment to being transparent about his illness.
“Earlier this week, I was hospitalized for pneumonia and I am doing a bit better each day. I was tested and diagnosed with COVID 19 because of this ongoing illness not because I suspected that I was exposed. Rachel has been tested as well but we do not yet have her results and she remains self-isolated,” he said of his wife.
The number of coronavirus infections diagnosed in the U.S. has been inching up rapidly in recent days with more than 5,200 as of Tuesday afternoon. And while the number of people recovering from the virus remains at 17, the number of people who have died as a result of the virus has slowly increased to 92.
Hughes, who is a veteran, said while there is much that is being done in the U.S. to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, access to testing should be improved.
“For several days now, I have been restless in a quarantined hospital room and have had an opportunity to think and be grateful that I have healthcare and that I was able to be diagnosed and treated. While there is much being done, I can’t help but think this virus going to hit some neighborhoods and neighbors worse than others and the idea of health equity is going to be tested in the coming weeks,” Hughes said.
“I am a veteran and healthcare is not equitable even in the VA system. I was hospitalized three times before I was tested for this virus. Rachel was tested and sent home, even though she had been by my side during my exposure and while I was showing symptoms. This is why universal health care is so important. There should be no barriers to health care when you are sick,” he said.
He urged people who have been around him or his wife in recent weeks to “not take it lightly” if they show symptoms of infection from the virus.
According to The New York Times, tracking reliable testing data for the coronavirus in the United States has been difficult for a number of reasons.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control, the publication says, lags several days and reports the number of specimens tested, not the number of people. It was also pointed out that there is no uniformity in the way testing is tracked as some states only report positive results.
About 125 people per million have been tested in the United States so far, which is far fewer than most other countries that track the data. In recent days, there has been evidence of increased testing and federal officials said on Monday that by the end of the week, 1.9 million tests should be available.