Maybe I’m too used to shoddy treatment in the shops and banks and on the phone that when service is good I’m almost jumping for joy. Such was the case when I went for a drive through Covid-19 test yesterday.
I’ve been reporting every day via the Covid Symptom study app where a few questions are answered to track who is affected. For two days I’d registered stomach and kidney pains and on the third day, early afternoon, I got an email inviting me to take a test. I’ve been moderately anxious about Covid and so filled in the gov.uk online form: then I was offered several imminent time slots. I had read if you have symptoms you must present within 5 days. Given that on the first day of pain I didn’t report, thinking it would be gone, it was now day 4 so I took the 5.30 slot that afternoon. It was in a car park next to a sports complex with arrows directing me to a white hut. Ahead were signs ≠ Switch off the engine, keep all windows shut.
Out of the shed came a man all covered and holding a sign with a telephone number. I rang it and it was him, the sign holder who answered, scanned a bar code on my phone and talked me through the procedure, asked did I want someone to swab me or did I want to do it myself. I said I’d do it. He guided me on to the next stop.
Around the traffic cones, engine off, another figure, new number. She went through a detailed list of instructions and pushed a grey envelope through the lowered window; inside were stickers, swab, tube and booklet.
Luckily I’d watched the online video because by now the car was getting steamed up and I was listening to every word she said, forgetting some along the way. Then off again to reverse park in a bay and stick the swab down my throat until I gagged, then swirl up one nostril for ten seconds. Then the long swab was put into a small tube, handle snapped off and sealed. A third figure appeared told me which stickers to peal off and stick down, held out a big bin and I lowered the window and dropped it in. It took fifteen minutes; ran like clockwork.
Results at 10.30. Negative.