Here’s what’s on my mind this week: COVID testing. Dale and I have been tested and, mercifully, we are both negative. Color us relieved and thankful. But there are issues with testing that I can’t stop thinking about now that I have gone through the process personally.
First, it takes too long to get tested. And second, once tested it takes too long to get the results. Here’s our experience:
We were exposed on 11/21. The person we were with starting experiencing symptoms on 11/23 and was tested on 11/24. They got their test results on 11/30 and that’s when Dale and I were notified. Fortunately, we mostly stay home, limiting ourselves to work and necessary shopping. Also, since this all happened over the Thanksgiving holiday, we had been almost exclusively at home. Still, on 11/30 we were both at work when we got the news. We met up at home and went to a drive up testing center but were turned away as they were already at capacity for the day. We went to an urgent care facility near us that does testing, their website said they didn’t take appointments but to call when you arrived. The line was busy for 15 minutes straight and, while it did ring through at one point, no one ever picked up and we were eventually disconnected.
We went home and regrouped and made appointments at a local pharmacy for 12/2 in the afternoon, deciding that it made more sense to have appointments than to drive around looking for a place that would test us without one. They told us the turn around time for results had been 2 days but would most likely be 3-4 days although there was the potential for it to take as long as 6 days. I got my results Saturday morning. Dale, who was tested at the same time as I was, got his results Sunday evening. And today we are both headed back to work.
But. All those days from when we were exposed until when were notified we had been in close contact with a person who tested positive were days where we could have been potentially spreading the virus. Also, by the time we got the results, our quarantine period was up anyway. I’m hearing that people with symptoms can get tested and get results more quickly but without symptoms that was not how it worked for us.
I’m not an expert and I don’t have solutions our answers but even I can tell that this needs to be more efficient. We need more testing places and faster turn around on results. Yes, a vaccine is headed our way. In the meantime, though, I think there needs to be a better way.
And that’s what’s on my mind this Monday.