Testing … 1, 2, 3

As I posted yesterday, we had to drive down to James Madison University to pick up my son only two weeks into his freshman year of college, because of rapidly rising numbers of Covid19 cases on campus. He had no symptoms. Neither did his roommate. They have both worn masks and followed all the other guidelines to the extent possible (unfortunately, it’s not possible to distance in a crowded college dining hall, though he’s been avoiding them and using the food delivery robots the past few days). So we have no particular reason to think he’s been infected. Still with so many cases around him, we had to acknowledge the possibility. So I wanted him to get a Covid test.

Tests are more easily available in Harrisonburg than here at home, so I planned to try to find a place to get tested before we left town. And as long as we were delaying our trip anyway, I wanted Bob and I (also with no symptoms) to get tested as well.

We had to search a bit, but we were able to find an urgent care center that could do tests with only a couple hours wait time. I would have liked to get the rapid test that gives results in 20 minutes, but we couldn’t find a place that would do those, and I figured a slow test is better than no test. So we signed up, filled out the forms, and then went to lunch (outdoor seating) while we were waiting. Finally we returned, waited some more, and then got our noses swabbed. After that, we stopped for ice cream and then headed home.

I wish testing was so widely available that every city and town had multiple locations where anyone could stop by to get a quick, easy test that would be covered by insurance or paid for with public funds. If everyone in the United States could be tested each week or two (as everyone who works in proximity to the president and vice-president is) we could get a much better handle on this pandemic. If we could be reasonable sure of identifying and isolating those who are contagious before they’ve had a chance to spread it to many others, it would be safer to send our kids to school, to reopen shops, and to get our lives back to some semblance of normality. But that is just not going to happen, at least not any time soon. Why are tests still hard to come by in some areas?

In any case, in my family we had all been tested in May, when Alexandria did a free testing event open to anyone. (Unfortunately, there hasn’t been another such event.) Bob had another test this summer, when he was showing some worrisome symptoms — and even then, with a doctor’s order, he could not get a test until he was actually in the hospital and doctors had run out of other things to test for. And I had Jon Morgan tested a couple weeks before he left for school, since JMU encouraged students to, he had his annual checkup scheduled for that week, and his doctor’s office was able to test him.

All of those tests were negative.

We hope that will be the case this time as well. Results will take a few days.

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