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Monday On My Mind

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.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. And we all know why this isn’t working better, like the rest of the US response to this crisis. Grateful we will soon be under new management.

    Glad you are both ok. May that continue.

    1. I don’t think efficiency is the problem. The healthcare system and the companies that supply the testing products are overwhelmed by demand. There are only 24 hours in a
      day. We as a society are part of the problem. We spend social time with people we do not live with. Please take pity on the people who are doing their best to help us.

  2. The whole process of testing is such a debacle. We’re never going to get the virus under control if it’s this hard to get a test, regardless of whether one has symptoms. I can understand a requirement to have symptoms to get a test if everyone got them, but there’s enough evidence of asymptomatic individuals that it shouldn’t be one. If we were really serious, then we would be testing everyone on a regular basis, like other countries have done.

    Anyway, I’m glad to hear that you’re both negative. (We didn’t get tested, but we’re now on day 11 after exposure and no one has had any symptoms, so I think we’re okay.)

  3. It’s frustrating to see how this all plays out in real life. I know several people (spread out in different parts of the country) have had similar experiences with testing and waiting for results. I’m sure testing facilities and labs are doing the best they can — but an overall plan/scheme would have been A Good Thing. (I sure hope someone is working on a vaccine distribution plan . . . or it may end up looking like the testing plan.)

    And I am SO glad you and Dale tested negative! XO

  4. First – such good news about your test results
    I would be wonderful if there was continuity in the process. Out here, there are a lot of people getting tested so they can do things like visit family and travel – that seem frivolous. And for people who have been explored, they are asked to wait 7 days before getting tested unless they have symptoms. I guess you can get tested too soon and it isn’t valid.
    It all feels so confusing.

  5. Testing is a conundrum. I know several people who were exposed, went to get tested as soon as they were notified, tested negative initially, but then developed symptoms and tested positive. Depending on the type of test, the patient may not have enough viral load to test positive for approximately five days even though they are incubating and shedding the virus. And then there is the whole getting tested and waiting many days for results that you detailed. I don’t have the answers, I just know that in the US there aren’t enough tests, testing personnel, lab workers to perform the tests, and like Sarah said, we need to be testing people regularly to stop exponential community spread. But I’m very glad you and Dale were negative!

  6. So glad you both tested negative. Our 14 year old granddaughter needed to be tested. Her family uses Kaiser in LA and called for an appointment. She and her Dad were in a drive through line for over three hours and when they got to the head of it discovered the paperwork was written up for him and so they refused to test her. Next day, after a call to the doctor, she went back and was tested after waiting 15 minutes. Twelve hours later she got the negative results!

  7. So glad you tested negative! It is a little bit easier in Illinois because our governor has partnered with state universities other agencies to help process the tests. Also, the state university here in town offers testing days that are open to the public. But, still, we all would benefit by help at the federal level. Hope you and Dale stay well!

  8. Am so glad y’all are both negative. Sorry your experience getting tested was such a hassle. For travel in September we got results in 20 minutes from our closest urgent care, and when my Mom and husband had to have tests before a procedure the results came back in a couple days. Hopefully this is something that will get standardized.

  9. Well, and then the tests/results themselves. One of my coworkers had a negative test result, and a few days later had to take another test in order to have her colonoscopy… that result came back positive. She quarantined… never had any symptoms and, though aware of asymptomatic carriers, believed she never had it. Last week, she had an antibody test… with a negative result. How completely aggravating is all of that? Which of these results was a false negative or a false positive?? It sometimes seems an exercise in futility…

  10. So glad you were negative and hopefully your friend that was ill is recovering. The whole system is a mess. Hope “they” do better with the vaccine.

  11. Your experience seems to reflect those around here (Oregon). I’m fortunate that neither hubs nor I need to go anywhere other than the post office and the grocery and that case loads are really, really low in our county. The way this has been handled is simply a travesty.

  12. So glad you are both negative. My Dr’s office does a rapid test. I haven’t needed to be tested but I’m glad to know it’s there if I need it. Not sure how accurate it is compared to the ones that take days for results but our hospitals and other places in the State doing the nasal testing are swamped everyday.

  13. So glad this turned out to be a situation where inefficiency and all the angst of testing turned out to be a positive result for you and Dale. And yes, it is a debacle of the highest order. Maybe it will improve under our new leader.

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