Imagine trying to get a COVID test — only to have the lab refuse to serve you. Then, imagine if it was because of your politics. Pretty infuriating, right? But nationally prominent conservative commentator Candace Owens didn’t get mad at all when that happened to her.

“Truly, I’ve never laughed harder,” she wrote in response to the Aspen-based lab after it turned her down via email.

Owens is among those who choose not to vaccinate against COVID. It’s a point of contention nationwide, to be sure. Yet, wherever anyone stands on the COVID vaccine, it obviously shouldn’t disqualify them from testing for the virus. You’d think a lab would provide the service not only as a medical duty to the patient but even more as a service to the entire community.

As reported in The Gazette last week, Owens frequently tests for COVID, as needed in her travels, even if she won’t vaccinate. She posted on Instagram that she received the lab’s email after her assistant had booked a testing appointment.

“My assistant comes to me and her face is white, and she’s like, 'You are not going to believe this, we just received an email from the COVID facility that they are declining to give you a test because of who you are,'” Owens said in her post. She added the facility must have looked her up online since she registered for the test under her married name.

"I was banned from taking a Covid test because of my politics!" exclaimed Owens on Twitter last Wednesday.

Owens also posted the lab’s email to her. A representative named Suzanna Lee wrote:

“We cannot support anyone who has pro-actively worked to make this pandemic worse by spreading misinformation, politicizing and DISCOURAGING the wearing of masks and actively dissuading people from life-saving vaccinations…”

"My team and myself have worked overtime, to exhaustion, unpaid and underpaid the past year, spending our own capital to ensure that our community remains protected. It would be unfair to them and to the sacrifices we have all made this year to serve you.”

The lab’s email even suggested Owens turn to the only other local testing option, which sends its samples to Texas and, as the email claimed, has "inconsistent result times.” Which is to say the lab told Owens to go pound sand.

In her email reply, Owens shot back, “Nothing screams ‘this virus isn’t political’ quite like googling the names of the people who book tests with you and determining on a case by case basis whether or not you will let them comply with your community covid measures.” She called the lab’s missive, "literally the biggest heap of virtue-signaling cr-p I have ever seen in my life.”

Owens, who is Black, threw in another jab: "The last time a white person refused a Black person services because, 'I don't like your thoughts and ideas,' we were in the Jim Crow era.”

"I'm a personal freedom person," Owens said in an Instagram video, which drew more than 1 million views and counting last week. Directing her remarks to the lab rep, she said, ”I still don't have the vaccine, and I'm still not going to get it, Suzanna, it's just not what I want to do. I will unfortunately find someone else to administer a COVID test, you absolute freak.”

She pushed back again Thursday on Twitter: "If you don’t want conservatives to be able to test because of our viewpoints then STOP MANDATING the test, you imbeciles.”

Aspen Laboratories didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Owens was able to laugh off the incident and parlay it into a few social-media moments that caught the attention of mainstream news media. As a practical matter, maybe that’s all it’s worth.

But it also is a troubling reminder of how absurdly politicized the pandemic has become. Not only have masks and vaccinations become political footballs, but apparently a lab will withhold a test to get in some grandstanding.

It’s odd to think the current climate would prompt a provider of a vital medical service to discriminate on the basis of a patient’s beliefs — and openly admit to it. Whatever a person’s politics — or preference on the COVID vaccine — it’s surprising a health care provider, especially a lab, would go rogue over it.

It’s unfortunate some people’s views on COVID have assumed a political hue and partisan alignment on either side of the partisan divide. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be tolerant.

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