While I don’t typically write in first person, I want to share with readers my experience of being tested last week for COVID-19. Being a mostly healthy guy in my early 50s, I still have concerns that I may become infected or facilitate the spread of a virus that may take someone’s life down the line. With a 14-day incubation period, the question of whether or not I’m currently carrying it was literally waking me up in the middle of the night. When I learned there’s a testing station in Redding, I signed up and took the time off to get tested.
Generally speaking, the sign-up process is quick and easy. Go online to https://lhi.care/covidtesting and fill in the blanks. You can choose from available dates and times. The testing center is at 11555 Old Oregon Trail at Shasta College and the signs are easy to follow.
When I arrived Wednesday morning, I was rather surprised to see I was the only person there. I saw no lines, no waiting and literally no other testing patients in a room the size of a small gymnasium. It was just me, the registration desk person (behind a clear plastic curtain) and two testers. Hopefully that will change soon as people become informed about the station and the importance of regular testing.
After some general questions to confirm my identity and whether I’d noticed any symptoms in the last week, I was sent to the testing area.
As far as the test itself is concerned, I’m not going to lie -- it’s rather uncomfortable. However, it’s also rather quick. In fact, if you can keep yourself still, it literally only takes a couple seconds. Then you’ll be out of the chair with watery eyes and an itchy nose, free to go back to your car. Bring some extra tissues.
Shortly after I left, I received a text with further instructions and a timeline for how long the tests will take to come back.
My results came back in a couple days via email, confirming that I am COVID negative, as of the testing date.
To be candid, I went through some introspection before I got the results back. It would be impossible for me to report all the random thoughts, questions, scenarios and potential contingency plans that went through my brain. Although I had no symptoms and no reason to believe I had contracted the virus, it was still a relief to see official test results come back negative. That alone was worth my time and travel cost.
Regardless of symptoms, I plan to retest every couple weeks for the protection of my family and coworkers.
Now, it’s up to you. I won’t try to convince you of anything, change your mind or influence your next decision. However, if you feel any changes in your respiratory health, I hope you’ll make the responsible decision to get tested and avoid contact with others until the results come back.