In the wake of COVID-19, many have expressed a desire to know whether or not they have contracted the virus, independent of whether they are symptomatic.
I don’t quite understand that, as without a vaccine or cure, I do not need to know whether I have contracted the virus. I conduct myself as if I have the virus, for the continuance of my own health and those around me.
Still others have expressed valid questions about the lack of access to coronavirus tests for much of the American public, while those of means — including professional athletes, actors, and the President of the United States — seem to have complete and total access to them.
That said, based on the report of someone who recently had the test, you may want to wait until your health care professional recommends one, or at the very least until you experience symptoms. He says the standard coronavirus test is not a walk in the park, as medical procedures go.
“I went to my doctor’s office for a regular follow up appointment [and] informed them that I have been having a cough and slight fever,” said Jorge Alvarado, Office Manager at Le Grand Restaurant in Los Angeles. “The nurse escorted me to the back [and] took my vitals and temperature.”
Alvarado said the nurse then left the room to get a face mask for him.
“To be honest, I was surprised that they didn’t have masks in their waiting area,” Alvarado continued. “I later found out that that was due to patients stealing a bunch of them, and the hospital only having a limited supply left.”
After getting a mask, Alvarado waited about 30 minutes for an examination by a doctor, who entered the room wearing a face shield, surgical mask, and full medical dressing. The doctor told Alvarado that he had a fever of 100.5, which qualified him for a COVID-19 test.
After asking a few screening questions about Alvarado’s travel history, the doctor began preparing implements for the test.
“He showed me a few tubes and swabs,” Alvarado said. “One was for my throat — it was a regular swab that I’ve seen for my entire life.”
“The other was a very thin, skinny swab with what looked like thin wire. I was told it would be used to put [up] my nostrils. I swear it was close to one foot long.”
“We did the oral swab, no big deal, but then came the nostril swab. At this point, I just said I was going to close my eyes and I told the doctor to just do what he needed to do.”
“I swear that thing touched my brain,” Alvarado continued. “I could feel myself twitching and making weird faces. When he pulled it out, I felt like passing out. Unfortunately, he told me that he needed to do it in the other nostril, too!”
Overall, Alvarado gave the test an 8 on a 1-10 scale with regard to level of discomfort. He was told that it would be two to four days before he got his COVID-19 test results, likely directly from the Centers for Disease Control or his local health department. He said he has been in isolation ever since.
I am among the first to adhere to advice from a doctor, and take tests that need to be taken. Given the nature of this one, I’m certain that I will adhere to public health recommendations to try to avoid contracting COVID-19, and I will wait until it’s recommended to be tested.
According to Alvarado, it is a test that I would rather avoid — just like COVID-19.