Have You Had A COVID Test Yet? Here’s How it Went for Me

The meme about Schrodinger’s virus speaks to me. We don’t know if we have COVID-19 at any given time, but we have to act as if we do while interacting with others to keep them safe. And we have to act as if we don’t have COVID-19 to remember to take steps to mitigate our own risk of becoming infected. 

Without robust testing, it doesn’t seem like we can ever get the virus under control. Our area has seen such spikes that Baton Rouge was chosen as a site for federal surge testing for a couple weeks. And I took advantage of the site nearest to me and was tested last week.

My reasoning for getting tested was partly that it felt like the right thing to do. (And I’m a sucker for free stuff, let me tell you!) But the more pressing desire to be tested was a possible exposure. 

The husband of a friend–with whom I had visited, masked and socially distanced–was feeling sick after a confirmed case on the same floor of his work, which he’d been going to twice a week. He started experiencing symptoms, tested positive for strep, and his COVID-19 test was still pending. My friend and their baby weren’t feeling well either. 

I was on high alert and wanted to know, to end my heightened awareness of the Schrodinger’s virus that’s actually always present. Even though we’re still mostly staying home, if I were positive my family’s life would need to drastically change further to protect others. (I also spun out thinking through my own possible future health outcomes!)

The actual testing experience was easy and positive. I visited, answered a few questions (reporting no symptoms and I was still eligible for a test) and selected the location nearest to me, the site at Alex Box Stadium. I printed one page, but there was an option to show the information on a phone–all they needed was a name, email address and phone number. 

Driving up to the Box, masked, uniformed troops directed my driving, tossed me free reusable masks through the window, and then a medical professional (in scrubs, not a military uniform) swabbed my nose. She asked if I wanted to do it myself, but I know for sure I’d have never been able to shove the swab as far up my nose as she did. Tears flowed freely after the invasion of my nasal canal, and it took me a few moments to gather myself before I could drive away. 

Then the waiting began. I was extra cautious with my interactions, being even more socially distant and monitoring my temperature, aches, and senses of taste and smell while waiting for results to come in through the website. My negative test result came in much faster than the test my friend’s husband had taken at his doctor. I was tested on a Wednesday, and my negative result came back on Sunday. Our tax dollars at work!

I don’t really know if I have COVID-19 now, only that on that Wednesday when I was tested I did not have the infection. And the experience of testing and that few days of true uncertainty just reinforced my anxiety of this time and wanting to take more precautions to keep myself and my family safe.

Find a place to be tested through the Louisiana Department of Public Health. The federal surge testing sites that were scheduled to close on Saturday, July 18 will be extended until all 60,000 tests are completed.

Have you been tested for COVID-19? Was your experience like mine? 

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17 Jul 2020

By Mari Walker

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