In limbo

A week sick, no test results

Casey Hanners started feeling sick more than a week ago.

His daughter had attended a job fair where she’d had contact with Lisa Badger, a Springfield Park District board member who announced last week that she has coronavirus. Hanners, 38, had a cough but paid it little mind. He has exercise-induced asthma and figured that workouts were the reason.

“I wasn’t in bad shape,” he says. But the cough didn’t go away, and he developed other symptoms. On St. Patrick’s Day, his wife convinced him to go to a drive-through screening center on South Sixth Street. They asked some questions. “I didn’t check any of the boxes for other things,” Hanners says. He was given a coronavirus test. Results, he was told, would come in 48 hours.

Six days later, he’s still waiting for an answer, although he’s been told that tests showed he doesn’t have the flu. He called: How long? “By Thursday, they may have it back,” he says.

It is the sickest, Hanners says, that he’s ever been. Labored breathing is obvious during a telephone interview. Attempts at deep breaths, he says, are futile. “It’s like having someone sit on your chest, is the best way I can describe it,” Hanners says. “Every day, I wake up, thinking I feel a little bit better. Then, everything feels progressively worse the longer I stay up.”

He’s confined himself to a bedroom, his office and a bathroom. His daughters, 14 and 16, do not appear sick – Hanners says he can hear them moving around the house and acting like teenagers— but they are treated as such. “We’re not allowing the kids or anyone else to leave,” he says. “We are on lockdown.” Conversations with them and his wife have been digital. “I’ll say stuff like ‘I need food’ or ‘I need water,’” Hanners says.

Memorial Medical Health System says that it can take a week to get test results back from a lab in North Carolina. And, owing to scarce resources, criteria for getting tests have grown stricter since Hanners got his. “Unfortunately, we have had to restrict the testing criteria more recently because the Illinois Department of Public Health lab is no longer testing COVID-19 tests from outpatients, and because some of the private labs have indicated that they don’t have the capacity, either,” writes Memorial spokesman Dean Olsen in a Sunday email. “We would want to test any person being admitted to one of our hospitals for respiratory illness, but we cannot do this now because of limited availability of test kits. We want every person whom a health care provider thinks needs a test to get a test.”

Meanwhile, Hanners stays home. He’s worried about his job in the customer service department of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “I feel bad for taking off work,” he says. “I’m freaking out that they’re going to get rid of me.”

His father, who is older than 60, brings food and other necessities, even when told to stay away, Hanners says. Being alone is tough. He has, he says, lately spent time in the same room as his wife.

She started showing symptoms on Sunday.

Contact Bruce Rushton at

Illinois Times has provided readers with independent journalism for more than 40 years, from news and politics to arts and culture.

Now more than ever, we’re asking for your support to continue providing our community with real news that everyone can access, free of charge.

We’re also offering a home delivery option as an added convenience for friends of the paper.

Click here to subscribe, or simply show your support for Illinois Times.

Got something to say?
Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment