My Covid Test – Gambling With An Edge

I have a 3-days-a-week gym buddy. We do 20 minutes of aerobics, another 20 minutes with weights, and call it a day. It’s not a rigorous routine, but it’s a lot better than no exercise at all, and we’re both better at keeping the schedule if the other guy is there too.

One night I got a text from him saying he took a Covid test for an upcoming trip and tested positive. He was required to quarantine for ten days so would not be at the gym for a while. 

I immediately called him up and found out he’s fine. He doesn’t have any symptoms. His family took the test at the same time and all had negative results, but the trip is off, and he’s taking the quarantine seriously. He’s not going to work nor anywhere else.

Okay. But he and I were at the gym together immediately before he took the Covid test. On adjacent treadmills, we turned to face each other while we talked. On the circuit of weight machines, we each used the same machines immediately after the other guy did. 

While Bonnie and I have both been fully vaccinated, it made sense to both of us that I get tested. Some small percentage of vaccinated people contract the disease, and if I had it, with or without symptoms, I wanted to know about it and get relevant care. 

I looked on the Internet for Covid tests and found out I could get a drive-through test at a local Walmart in a few days. I would have preferred one the same day I found out about it, but I couldn’t figure out how to get one of those. 

I received email instructions and a confirmation number, and I showed up at the correct time and place. I had been told to bring identification with me, which I had.

A pharmacist came to the drive-through window and instructed me how to do the test. He verified my name, date of birth, and confirmation number and said he didn’t need to see ID.

He gave me a package in a large see-through envelope — sort of like a Ziploc freezer bag. When instructed, I took out a six-inch stoppered vial with some liquid in it and a very long Q tip in its own sealed bag. The pharmacist told me he had just cut off the end of that bag so I could have easy access to the Q tip.  

I was told to place the Q tip about a half-inch into my right nostril, twirl it twice around, and hold it in place for 15 seconds. And then do the same for the left nostril with the same Q tip.

I then was told to break the Q tip in half, which was easy because it was made to snap at the correct length. I was told that the vial had liquid in it, so I should take the stopper out carefully to keep the liquid from spilling out, and then place the Q tip cotton-side first into the vial and put the stopper back into the vial. 

All that was left to do was to seal everything back into the Ziploc bag and place it in a collection box, which was almost overflowing. The entire test was self-administered and took less than five minutes from the time I first pulled up to the window. In no way was it painful or obnoxious to me. 

I received an email 24 hours later. It was not easy to read, but it basically said I didn’t have Covid — with all sorts of caveats. It used the phrase “Not Detected” to summarize the result. I’m including a copy of the result, with names and phone numbers deleted, so you can see what they look like.

Bonnie and I have signed up for a cruise in December. We’ll probably have to take a Covid test within a few days before the cruise. If so, it’s nothing for us to fear.

SPECIMEN ID NOTIFICATION MISSING SECOND ID COVID-19 Active Infection (SARS-CoV-2 RNA, QL NAAT (Unobserved Self-Collection)

Next Steps

Still Have Questions? Contact the PWNHealth care coordination team to schedule a session with a physician to discuss your results.

Monday – Friday / 9:00am – 5:30pm EST, Phone: (855) xxx-xxxx

Result

COMMENT:

Specimen labels must include two forms of patient ID. Only one unique identifier was present on the sample(s). The testing you requested will be processed; however, going forward please provide two identifiers as required by the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

Result

COVID-19 Active Infection RT-PCR/TMA (SARS-CoV-2 RNA, QL NAAT)

Desired Result: NOT DETECTED NOT DETECTED

A Not Detected (negative) test result for this test means that SARS- CoV-2 RNA was not present in the specimen above the limit of detection. A negative result does not rule out the possibility of COVID-19 and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions. If COVID-19 is still suspected, based on exposure history together with other clinical findings, re-testing should be considered in consultation with public health authorities. Laboratory test results should always be considered in the context of clinical observations and epidemiological data in making a final diagnosis and patient management decisions. Specimens that are self-collected were not tested with an internal control to confirm that the specimen was properly collected. As such, unobserved self-collected specimens from SARS-CoV-2 positive individuals may yield negative results if the specimen was not collected properly. Please review the “Fact Sheets” and FDA authorized labeling available for health care providers and patients using the following websites: QuestDiagnostics.com/home/Covid-19/HCP/ha-sars-fact-sheet1 QuestDiagnostics.com/home/Covid-19/Patients/ha-sars-fact-sheet1 This test has been authorized by the FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use by authorized laboratories.

Methodology: Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) includes RT-PCR or TMA NO COLLECTION DATE RECEIVED. WE HAVE USED THE DATE THE SPECIMEN WAS RECEIVED BY THIS LABORATORY AS THE COLLECTION DATE. IF THIS IS INCORRECT, PLEASE CONTACT CLIENT SERVICES. PHONE NUMBER: 866.xxx.xxxx

Performing Lab QAW Quest Diagnostics-Las Vegas   Ordering Physician Xxxxxx 

To feel fully empowered to make healthy decisions based on your test results, it is recommended that you discuss them with a health care provider. Please note, our patient service centers or laboratories do not have your full medical story to provide you with an interpretation or diagnosis.

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