How Are Celebrities Getting Tested for COVID-19?

We asked celebrities how they got tested for coronavirus. For the most part, it's a mystery.
March 20, 2020, 5:40pm
At left, Kevin Durant. At right, Tom Hanks.
Images via Getty.

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, famous people, the New York Times says, have "helped put a face to the virus." Indeed, the disease has become proof that, as Us Weekly has long claimed, celebrities really are "just like us."

To a point. The testing roll-out for the disease in the United States and numerous other countries has been woefully slow and almost entirely inept. Over the past week-plus, though, the rich and famous seem to be having an entirely different experience than everyone else. Whole athletic organizations have been cagey as to how their seemingly healthy members got access to tests while actually symptomatic people in their states have not. On Friday, Reuters reported that a bevy of rich New Yorkers accessed tests through a membership-only medical concierge service. In the meantime, some celebrities have taken to singing songs from their bunkers as a means of perking up the spirits of those who have less cushy homes in which to wait out the crisis.

In the spirit of solidarity, VICE reached out to celebrities who have revealed they got tested for comment on where they were when they got tested and how they got access to the scarce tests. We will update if and when they respond, and this list will be added to as more tests inevitably occur.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, actors

The first famous American celebrities to be diagnosed, Hanks and Wilson said on March 11 that, after exhibiting symptoms while in Australia, "To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus, and were found to be positive.” The pair have not responded to a request for comment.

Idris Elba, actor

Revealed his test results came back positive on Monday. Elba has not responded to a request for comment.

Rachel Matthews, actor

The voice of Honeymaren in Frozen II wrote on her Instagram story Monday, “Hey guys, I tested positive for COVID-19 and have been in quarantine the last week." Matthews, who said the test was "INSANELY hard to come by" and that she only got it because she'd been exposed to a confirmed case and had symptoms, has not responded to a request for comment.

Daniel Dae Kim, actor

"Yesterday I was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus," Kim said Thursday from his home in Hawaii. In the video, he said he got his test at a drive-thru testing facility in Honolulu. Dae Kim has not responded to a request for comment.

Kristofer Hivju, actor

"Greetings from Norway! Sorry to say that I, today, have tested positive for COVID19, Corona virus," Hivju wrote on Instagram Tuesday. Hivju has not responded to a request for comment.

Olga Kurylenko, actor

"Locked up at home after having tested positive for Coronavirus. I’ve actually been ill for almost a week now," Kurylenko wrote earlier this week. "Where I got tested? In the hospital when an ambulance took me there after I called because my fever was over 39," she said later, before eventually clarifying she is currently in London. Kurylenko has not responded to a request for comment.

Heidi Klum, model, and Tom Kaulitz, musician

"To be safe, we are staying apart until we get the results of our Coronavirus tests (that we were finally able to get today) back," Klum wrote of her and her husband earlier this week. Klum has not responded to a request for comment.

Kris Jenner, momager

"Kris Jenner has been tested for coronavirus after attending Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge's birthday bash a couple weeks ago," a "source" told E! News earlier this week about Jenner's alleged "recent" test. "Grainge tested positive and Jenner wanted to make sure she was being proactive in getting tested."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Jenner said she "has not and will not be commenting on health related. It’s unfortunate that Entertainment Tonight ran a story without checking with her and was tied to a 'source'. I’m sorry we cannot be more helpful but unfortunately that was not confirmed."

Celine Dion, musician

"On Monday night, a day after completing a six-show run in the New York area, Celine began feeling the symptoms of a common cold," a statement from her team read. "The symptoms persisted into Tuesday, and her doctors instructed her to rest for the next 5-7 days. After testing her, the doctors concluded that her virus was not related to COVID-19." Dion has not responded to a request for comment.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, soccer player for Chelsea Football Club

Earlier this week, Hudson-Odoi said on Instagram that he had been diagnosed and was self-isolating, despite having recovered from the virus. Chelsea has not responded to a request for comment.

Charles Barkley, NBA commentator

Barkley, who is currently in Atlanta, revealed he had been tested last Thursday, but has not yet said whether the test was positive or negative. Barkley has not responded to a request for comment.

Christian Wood, basketball player for the Detroit Pistons

A Pistons player, reported to be Wood, received a positive test result March 14, according to a statement from the team, after having been self-isolating for several days due to "flu-like symptoms." The team's players and staff are isolating themselves; the Pistons have not responded to a request for comment.

Sean Payton, coach of the New Orleans Saints

On Thursday, Payton, who is Louisiana-based, revealed he had been tested Monday after not feeling well and was positive. A Saints spokesman vigorously declined to comment.

Marcus Smart, basketball player for the Boston Celtics

On Thursday, Smart confirmed he was the Celtic who had tested positive earlier in the week. The Celtics have not responded to a request for comment.

Mikel Arteta, soccer coach for Arsenal Football Club

Arteta was diagnosed last week. In response to a request for comment, a representative of the team said, "Hope you understand, but we’re not providing a running commentary on specific medical matters, other than to say that since Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID-19, our men’s first team squad and many staff members have been in self-isolation. This period is currently due to be completed on Tuesday 24 March, but clearly the situation is changing all the time. Our training facilities at London Colney and Hale End (for our Academy) are also both currently closed to all players, other than a limited number of facilities and ground staff, without symptoms, who are maintaining the sites.

"All of our men’s first team players have received tailored training and rehab programmes to follow during their self-isolation periods. Some have also been sent training equipment to their homes. Our medical and strength and conditioning teams are in regular remote contact with all players."

Brooklyn Nets, NBA team

Earlier this week, the Brooklyn Nets announced that four of their team members, including Kevin Durant, had tested positive for the disease, prompting New York mayor Bill DeBlasio to proclaim, "Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.” In response, the Nets said they “sourced the tests through a private company and paid for them ourselves because we did not want to impact access to CDC’s public resources." The Nets have not responded to a request for comment.

Utah Jazz, NBA team

The Utah Jazz were tested by the Oklahoma City health department last week, and confirmed that Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell had received positive diagnoses.

Los Angeles Lakers, NBA team

Fourteen of the 17 Lakers players were tested Wednesday morning, and two tested positive. The Lakers have not responded to a request for comment.

Philadelphia 76ers, NBA team

Three members of the Philadelphia 76ers organization tested positive, the team announced Thursday, after private testing. The team's players were reportedly tested Monday, while other members of the organization had to wait. The Sixers have not responded to a request for comment.

Denver Nuggets, NBA team

On Thursday, via a statement, the team said that an unnamed member of the organization had tested positive this week, and that "the testing was undertaken following guidance from state health officials and team physicians."

A spokesman told VICE, "We went through the state officials to get the individual tested.

"That is why only one person was tested, our whole team/basketball staff was not tested. We are following state guidelines and protocols that unless showing symptoms you aren’t tested and this individual was showing symptoms."

Ottawa Senators, NHL team

The team was tested Tuesday night, and one member tested positive. In response to a request for comment, a representative for the team stated that "Everything here is managed through our public health system," before directing VICE to government websites about the disease and testing for it. They added that "In order to abide by Ontario privacy laws, and out of respect for our players and staff, we will not publicly disclose personal medical information. However, we will update the community on any changes as it relates to public health."

With additional reporting from Meredith Balkus, Bettina Makalintal, Tim Marchman, Anna Merlan, Josh Terry, Laura Wagner, and Alex Zaragoza.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.