Wednesday, June 29, 2022 Jun 29, 2022
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Coronavirus

I Went to a Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing Site. It Wasn’t What I Expected.

A double thumbs up to the testing employees.
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Image via iStock, Anna Gorbacheva

Although I was a bit concerned to be at a COVID-19 testing site to begin with, I was more at ease to not have to be the one taking the test. Yesterday afternoon, I drove my mother to a testing site, per her doctor’s request, and found the experience to be everything I did not expect.

The site is located in the parking lot of the Ellis David Field House, off of South Polk Street. To our surprise, when we arrived, the site was empty. The rules are simple. Stay in your vehicle the entire time, have your ID and health insurance cards on your dashboard, lower your window only when instructed to do so, and, of course, do not touch anyone. These rules are consistent throughout the three checkpoints.

The first checkpoint involves having your temperature taken with a no-contact thermometer. A minimum temperature of 99.6 needs to be met to move on to the next checkpoint. With this minimum requirement met, we moved on to the second checkpoint. It involved personnel filling out documents with the information displayed on my mom’s ID and health insurance card. Most of the questions are designed to be answered with a yes or no, so there was no need to lower the window. And a phone number can be easily given through your window if your vehicle’s engine is off.

The last checkpoint involved the test. I was instructed to completely lower the window on my mother’s side. A swab is inserted up the nose, to reach the nasopharyngeal area. The actual swabbing lasts about 10 seconds, and my mother described a burning and scratching sensation. The discomfort subsided minutes after leaving the testing site. We were told to expect a phone call in about a week regarding the results, but that my mom should self-isolate pending the results.

From entry to exit, the process lasted no more than five minutes. There were no lines, and the checkpoints are spread evenly throughout the lot. All personnel are covered with proper PPE and point out your next steps through the signage displayed in English and Spanish. The overall process was quick and as organized as a public testing site can be. My mother and I left wishing we could thank those working the site personally, but their no-contact rules suggested a double thumbs up would have to suffice.

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