After waiting a week for COVID-19 diagnosis, Miami man says ‘hospitals are not ready for this’

MIAMI – After a trip to South Carolina about two weeks ago, Pedro Jimenez returned to Miami feeling ill. He went to Mercy Hospital, and he said it took him more than a week to find out if he was suffering from COVID-19.

Jimenez, 42, said his experience at the 488-bed acute care hospital in Miami’s Coconut Grove is concerning.

“I want to be a voice to let people know hospitals aren’t ready for this,” Jimenez said about the pandemic response.

Jimenez said he should have been tested the first day he came in. Instead, he said he was diagnosed with pneumonia and it took nearly a week for him to be tested for COVID-19. After an agonizing wait in isolation, he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday.

Jimenez said his first symptoms were similar to the flu, but as his condition worsened he began to experience shortness of breath.

“I get some episodes, imagine an asthma attack but a little bit worse," Jimenez said.

A representative from Mercy Hospital said physicians have a plan in place to identify and care for patients like Jimenez, who at this point is waiting to find out when he will be able to go home.

Public health officials said that as the availability of testing increases, so will the number of COVID-19 patients. On Thursday night, the Florida Department of Health reported the Centers for Disease Control and Protection confirmed 101 cases in Miami-Dade County and 96 cases in Broward County.

Officials announced a COVID-19 patient died in Duval County raising the number of deaths in Florida to nine.

“Be conscious people! This is time to stay home," Jimenez said. "It’s time to take care of your family ... if you don’t need to go out, don’t go out.”

About the Authors:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.