My Experience with Getting The Covid-19 Test

I heard this story from a close friend and was aghast at how bureaucratic it was to try and get a covid-19 test. In this particular story the problem was not lack of tests but such a bureaucracy that she probably drove 150 miles to eventually get a test.

Saturday August 15th.

I was on my vacation away from home and unfortunately my son got a sore throat that was painful even after taking ibuprofen. I chose to speak with a nurse about my son’s symptoms and she informed me that it might be strep throat but there was the possibility that he had covid-19 as a sore throat was a symptom. I called our provider, in Andover, to check if they did covid-19 testing at that location. Though it showed online that they did do covid-19 testing there the representative verified that they did not do the covid-19 test at that location. The representative told me that covid tests were not done at all locations and she gave me some suggestions on where I could go to get one such as CVS and a MinuteClinic. As I did not want to spread a potential covid-19 infection to my family members who were in a high risk category I chose to go and get my son tested.

I wound up driving from Annandale to Buffalo, but though my GPS showed the clinic at that location the pharmacy told me that it had been closed. I then tried to call a testing center in St. Michael who supposedly did testing. I was unable to get a person on the phone to verify this, so as it was getting late I drove there and I arrived fifteen minutes before they were supposed to close. I was told that I was too late to be seen and they didn’t do the covid-19 test either. They offered to set up an appointment the next morning but I decided to go home and try again the next day as most locations closed by 5pm.

Sunday August 16th

The next morning I called my home clinic to verify if it was open and if it did the covid-19 testing, as overnight my son’s condition had gotten worse and he needed to alternate between ibuprofen and acetaminophen because of a very sore throat. My call confirmed that I would need to go to a different clinic, in Brooklyn Park, to get the covid-19 test and that I would need the recommendation of a health practitioner. After arriving and being screened at the clinic the nurse practitioner administered the strep throat test which was positive. I was informed that he could have covid-19 on top of the strep throat and they recommended that I get him tested for that. I was surprised to learn that I could not get him tested in the clinic and would have to call a specific number to set up an appointment despite the fact that the covid-19 testing tent was in the parking lot. Because I was aware that my son was contagious until he had been on the medicine for 24 hours, I chose to immediately go to the closest Walgreens which was 5 minutes away and start his medication. As he needed to take it with food I purchased him some lunch, gave him his medicine, and then called the phone number to arrange his covid-19 test. As I was only 10 minutes away from the clinic I thought it would be easy to go back and get the test, but I was shocked to hear that they were not accepting any more appointments at that site (it was 2:15). I was given a list of the available locations and times and chose the closest one which was in Princeton an hour north of my current location of Brooklyn Park. I was able to make it to the clinic in time for the appointment, get the test done, and I was given the pertinent information on when I would get the results. The nurse said 48 to 72 hours and the paperwork said 7-10 days. I was pleased that the results were online in my online account on Monday night and was relieved that they were negative.

This was a very frustrating experience. Several things made this difficult such as many of the convenience clinics have been closed and the hours for urgent care have been reduced. The ability to take the covid-19 test which is important to stop the spread was difficult as they were only available at specific locations that may or may not have available times to the fact that you couldn’t take the test in the clinic when you were at the clinic.

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