Cindy Wendle, who ran for Spokane City Council president, was one of many Spokanites who got sick, but couldn't get tested for coronavirus

If only a couple hundred votes had gone the other way last November, Cindy Wendle would have been Spokane's council president, facing the gauntlet of tough decisions as the city combats the coronavirus.

But she still experienced the virus's impact first hand: For starters, she had to make the long drive to Boise State University to pick up her son last week after the university shut down as a result of the coronavirus.

And then, on the ride home, she started feeling sick. "I thought it was just allergies. And then you start running a fever," Wendle says. She woke up, and she was aching. Her cough kept getting worse.

The responsible thing, she assumed, was to get tested for the coronavirus. So she called up her insurance company. She had all the symptoms, she says.

"They're like 'Yeah, 'We don't have to test you," Wendle scoffs. "What!?"

One reason she was told she didn't qualify for a test, she says, was that she hadn't been exposed to anyone who had tested positive.

"But if nobody's getting tested, then nobody knows," Wendle says. "And then nobody else will get tested, because they don't know that they've been around somebody that's maybe positive."

Her son was sick the week before, and he hadn't been tested either. Instead, she put herself in quarantine and waited.

"I don't even want to go through a drive-thru," Wendle says. "I don't want to get anybody sick by handing off anything."

By Monday, she says, she was feeling better physically. And while more coronavirus testing kits have arrived in Spokane, Wendle worries that we're still not testing nearly enough. Because there are consequences to not knowing, as they make drastic decisions that impact businesses, the economy and livelihoods. Her husband is the executive director for the Hutton Settlement, a group home for children that's funded by rental revenue from local business properties. It's not just mustache-twirling landlords who suffer when people can't pay their rent.

"Small business owners and their employees are depending on us," she wrote on Twitter. "Data is everything. Testing should be #1 priority right now along with getting hospitals medical supplies."

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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, staff writer Daniel Walters is the Inlander's City Hall reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...