News Photojournalist Denied Zika Testing at Hospital

WPLG (Miami) Photographer Brian Ely was in Cuba covering Hurricane Matthew. When he came back from Cuba, he felt sick. 

"I had a fever of around 100 degrees, had some muscle aches and some headaches also," Ely said.

All the symptoms appeared to point to the Zika virus. 

WPLG says that Ely tried to get tested for the virus, but his doctor was unavailable for several weeks, so he called the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.

"But they told me they only test pregnant women, which was my first surprise," Ely said.

Ely then went to Broward Health Medical Center's emergency room.

"The woman came out and told that it was the hospital policy not to write a Zika test for anything except for pregnant women," Ely said. "I was interested in doing it, because we are at the point where we could be having children."

Broward Health spokeswoman Daniella Aird would not comment about Ely's visit because of HIPPA regulations, but said, "With regard to our policy on Zika testing, Broward Health strictly adheres to the guidelines put forth by the Florida Department of Health."

Local 10 News reached out to the Florida Department of Health, which issued the following statement:

"Free Zika testing is available to pregnant women and anyone who meets Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing criteria. According to CDC, any person who is experiencing one of the four key symptoms of Zika (red eyes, fever, joint pain and rash) and has a travel history to a Zika-affected area should be tested."

Brittany Estok is a physician assistant with Miami Urgent Care. She said many new patients are coming in frustrated, saying that they can't get tested.

"They've been frustrated, yeah, because they've not been able to get the testing done elsewhere, or they are frustrated (that) their insurance is not covering it," Estok said.

Ely finally found an urgent care that would order a test. 

He's waiting on the results.