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Getting a Covid Test – Not a Big Deal, nor a Panacea


5 Min Read – After our first weekend getaway since COVID began, we decided it was time to get a COVID test. To the best of our knowledge we didn’t come into contact with anyone infected.  And, while the weekend was largely socially distant, safe & the hotel provided numerous safety measures, we wanted that final assurance. A visit with my Mom in the coming weeks was inspiration enough to get tested. Getting a COVID test was quick & painless. In fact, we never even got out of our car.  That said a COVID test isn’t a panacea. It’s more of a quick snapshot in time.


The Steps

1st – we waited 8 days before getting the test. The CDC says you should stay home for 14 days, if you’ve been exposed. We felt that after 8 days, in the absence of symptoms we would be OK. I know, that’s not a very scientific approach. It seems the trick with testing is… if you test immediately, you could test negative that day and then be positive a week later.  I guess the longer you can wait, the better?

2nd – I’m sure each state has different methods. In CA, you can go online & register for a testing location/time in your area. For us, there were plenty of timeslots, in 15 minute increments. Our insurance covered the cost of the test.

3rd –  The online registration confirmed our spot, emailed us our paperwork & sent us a video explaining how the test would be performed. From the comfort of our car, we would be self-administering the test , bagging it up & handing it back.


A Smooth Operation

getting a covid test

4th – On the day of the test we arrived & were immediately herded through a cone line, to the testing station. There were 3 cars in front of us, but the process was moving along.


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5th – When we pulled up for our turn, a nurse in PPE requested we put our registration form on the dashboard. Through the windshield she read our forms and retrieved our COVID kits. The plastic bags were already tagged with our information. After asking if we had already seen the instruction video (we had), we opened the window and took our kits.

getting a covid test


Not a Big Deal

getting a covid test

6th – Rather than the rumored “brain tickler” of the original tests, these COVID swabs went about one inch into both nostrils. After swirling them around for 10 seconds each side, you place the swab into a tube of solution, snap the swab stick in half, then close the tube. While it does tickle your nose a little bit, there’s no discomfort. Had we been suffering from symptoms, the process may have seemed more irratating

7th – After putting the swab tube back in it’s plastic bag, we drove up to the next station & handed the plastic bag to another PPE’d nurse.

8th – 3 days later, we received an email letting us know that our test was negative.


From the Comfort of Home

getting a covid test

For those who would prefer to test from the convenience of home you can also purchase home COVID test kits. Labcorp makes one called Pixel. It essentially works the same way: Online registration, swab your nose, drop it in the mail. While it is more convenient, it costs about $120 per test… not insignificant.


Testing is not a Panacea

While the test does offer peace of mind, wearing a mask, washing hands & social distancing still rule the day. As the test is just a snapshot of that day, you still could develop symptoms (or be asymptomatic) for 14 days after exposure.

If you  know you’ve been exposed to someone who contracted COVID, certainly the ease of the test makes it worthwhile to know if you’re negative. The 14 days of quarantine is still part of the deal.

That said, as the White House recently discovered, frequent testing without masks, social distancing & washing hands just doesn’t cut it….

As always, where your health is concerned, check with your Doctor for proper guidance.


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