A doctor holding a COVID-19 test sample. Image is under Fair Use.

How Getting Tested for COVID-19 Works

Getting tested for COVID-19 has become more of a common occurrence, as more and more stores, businesses, gyms, and restaurants are opening back up. Some schools, such as Shepherd University, as well as some workplaces have made it mandatory to regularly get tested. 

When going to the doctors to get tested, there is a new protocol in place, especially for sick or symptomatic people. Before you can see a doctor or even go into the waiting rooms, there are a few things to take care of first.

You need to be wearing a mask at all times, unless directed not to. In order to make sure you wear your mask, most doctors make you sign a waiver saying you’ll keep yours on. After making sure you’re maintaining the correct distance apart and signing the waiver, they check your temperature and ask you if you have any symptoms. These symptoms can include coughing, sore throat, loss of senses, chest pain, or just a headache.

If you have any symptoms, you can’t go into the main waiting room. Instead, you are told to stay off to the side so that you can go into a separate “sick” waiting room. 

After either going to the “sick” waiting room or the main one, you go back to see the doctor. Some doctors require you to get tested, or you can request to get tested. The most common test is the swab they put into your nose. The swab is longer than the general ones you see in the store as it needs to go deep into your nose.  The swab ends up going into the back of your nose. 

This process can hurt or cause a burning sensation. If you have a smaller nasal cavity, it’s more likely to hurt. It doesn’t help that not only do they need to stick it up there, but also that they need to scrape the sides of the nasal cavity, so the swab needs to stay up there for about 5 seconds before they pull it out. 

The health industry has had to adapt to the coronavirus. They have had to hire more employees in order to have people to ask these questions and take others’ temperature. Places that require testing be done such as Shepherd University often have had to pay for the testing. 

The testing itself has had to evolve in order to effectively tell if someone has contracted COVID-19. In my opinion, the coronavirus test did not hurt. It was a little uncomfortable, and afterwards my nose felt uncomfortable for a little while, but it was not painful.

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