Lines Longer to Go To Whole Foods, Starbucks – than to get Tested for COVID today

What its like to get tested for COVID-19

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The line at Whole Foods in Kahala Friday

Many of us who are quarantined because of the COVID-19 virus, have sat and contemplated the testing procedures. Media reports of long lines certainly deter anyone who is not feeling well. We are already suffering long lines at COSTCO and Whole Foods, just waiting to see if we can get some groceries.

I called my doctor a week ago, and was asked to describe my symptoms and situation. I may have been exposed and I am a senior. His office recommended that I get tested. At the same time, however, City, County and State officials were telling us that we should simply self-quarantine because we needed to save the tests for those who needed it, and because there is a world-wide shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE).

It seemed that testing was a selfish thing to do, if you are not deathly ill.

A few days ago, Lt. Gov. Josh Green mentioned that testing was important so that health officials could track pockets of COVID-19 spread.

And then most recently, with the help of Dr. Scott Miscovich of Premier Medical Group in Kaneohe, we have begun to see more testing done by drive-through, which uses fewer PPE resources. Plus, test kits are more available.

Having had multiple points of possible infection, I wondered if the cough and congestion in my chest was COVID-19. I am normally a very healthy person but today, I went to Waipio to get tested as the congestion deepened in my chest.

This is what it is like:

Unlike Kakaako, where over 2,200 people were screened and 400 were tested, there were no lines. It was neat, efficient and uncrowded, surrounded as we were by the entire soccer complex. Green fields and undisturbed wildlife were everywhere.

Directional signs that were very visible were placed a mile from the testing area to direct drivers to the site. It was helpful for those of us who don’t attend soccer or live in the area.

Every station was manned by kind, informative individuals in masks who kept a respectable distance from the vehicle until the actual testing began. Those doing the testing were well-covered in masks and gear.

The first station is where they ask questions to determine eligibility for a test. We were given a quick form to fill out for the next step. It asked insurance information, age, DOB etc. About six lines, that’s all. When sent to the next station, our information was photocopied by mobile device and verified. A label was adhered to the rear view mirror that helped to identify the patient and became the label for the test tube which later held the swab sample.

Another station took readings of temperature and oxygen levels with a finger monitor, checking the identities along the way.

At the final station, identities were verified and the procedure was explained in detail so that there were no surprises. Today’s test kits have a shorter swab than those last week; it looks like a long, skinny popsicle stick. After the explanation, a fully-robed individual places the swab inside each nostril for approximately ten seconds, before removing it.

I’m not going to lie – it was uncomfortable. But it wasn’t the worst test I ever had. It was about as uncomfortable as a flu shot, though not as quick. But it has no lasting side effects, like the sore arm that accompanies those vaccinations.

It was over in less than 20 minutes, from start to finish. Results will be in a week, give or take.

For all of you dreading this, if you really are on the fence, talk it over with trusted friends – from a distance. Quarantine yourselves. Call your medical professional and if the doctor agrees, get tested.

On another note – what is it with people who don’t respect the six-foot distancing? Come on people. It isn’t just that I suspect you of being a carrier. I could be a carrier. Think about it.

Having been quarantined for ten days already, there will be at least another two weeks of this ahead, as directed at the testing site. Regardless of whether I test positive, however, I have no intention of exposing myself to anyone until it is safe for us all.

I don’t care what Trump says. I already lost my job. There is nowhere to go. I can finally start that novel, read that book, watch that movie.

I wear a mask to protect you; I wear gloves to protect you and me. I wash the cart and the doorknob and the phone and the keys on this computer. Likely, I will never relax these things again.

BUT SIX FEET PEOPLE! Keep your distance. Stay home. Wash well – in-between your fingers and under your nails (this is no time to keep them long! Besides, you can’t get a manicure anywhere), stay upwind of people, don’t touch your face or eyes and be thankful that you’re just at home, where you can access loved ones on your devices and entertain yourselves with books and media or take brisk walks or drives, as long as you stay six feet apart.

On Facebook, many of your favorite celebrities are posting from home; musicians are playing music. Check it out. It’s very entertaining.

Be safe and courteous; remember the other guy. Be grateful for these amazing healthcare professionals who may be saving us from the horrors of Italy, China, New York City, New Orleans – We may be able to keep this manageable. Maybe.

Special thanks to LG Josh Green for fighting the really good fight and winning with Gov. Ige and Mayor Caldwell. You are a rockstar, dude.

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