La Vergne family with COVID-19 nearly slips through testing


LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Three members of a family in La Vergne diagnosed with COVID-19 said they may have never been tested if they hadn’t been persistent.

Edwin Portillo tells News 2 after feeling some symptoms and a mild temperature he called the COVID-19 hotline, but they said he didn’t qualify for the test.

“I didn’t qualify to be tested so that right there was very scary for me. What they told me is that I don’t qualify for the test, because I was only 100.1 not 100.4 and I could breathe,” Portillo explained. 

He said thanks to the encouragement of a friend, Portillo sought out a Vanderbilt mobile testing center in Franklin.

“I walked in that clinic it was very fast, I wasn’t even there for 20 minute.”

The next morning, Portillo said he felt fine and figured that he didn’t have COVID-19.

“I woke up the next morning around 8:30, I felt great. I was like OK  that’s it,” he explained. 

A few hours later a phone call stopped Portillo from moving on as though he was healthy. He had tested positive for coronavirus. Without that call, Portillo said he would have gone on to his work in construction and likely visited his diabetic mother. 

“That saved my mom’s life how fast my test was.”

With Edwin’s positive test results, the Portillo family went back to all get tested for the virus. His children’s test came back positive as well.

“It was shocking for me though we are a family of faith so we’ve chosen to carry hope,” said Edwin’s wife Jessie Portillo.

The Portillo’s are making videos with hopes to educate others on the virus, especially his Hispanic community.

“Hispanic culture, I’m not speaking for everybody but I’m speaking for a big majority. They came to work and they are going to keep on working if they can. Let’s step out for a second and think about other people, let’s obey, follow instructions, because this thing really spreads,” said Edwin. 

The family also wants others to know they aren’t alone. Jessie works to fight suicide rates, a number that is steadily going up during this pandemic.

“There’s a lot of people getting this virus getting very scared and depressed and we’ve seen the studies they are killing themselves,” explained Edwin. 

The family hopes their messages of faith carry others through these trying times.

“I believe we are getting through it with our faith believing who God is and he’s with us even through all this situation.”

The family plans to continue posting videos on their YouTube channel.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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