It is now Get Tested Week in Ulster County, according to county executive Pat Ryan. From July 12 to July 19, all Ulster County residents are eligible to get tested. During testing a nasal swab, oral swab or saliva sample may be used.
It turns out that it is one thing for Pat Ryan to say everyone should get tested, and quite another to go through the process on a personal level.
My husband’s dad came to visit us late last week. He had been in total social isolation. He said he was not feeling well. He went to get a Covid test. He does not have results yet.
Our family has been careful, always wearing masks and remaining distant from others. But my husband and I felt that since testing was “fast and free,” we should definitely go get tested, too.
We started the morning by reading the article in Hudson Valley One for a link and information on how to get tested. We then called the county hotline. We were asked which health facility our doctor was at. We told them we had Nuvance and our daughter had Caremount.
They said we could schedule two different locations in order to get our three tests. It seemed counterintuitive to us to be running to multiple health facilities and to be in close contact with several testing sites that house people who might be contagious.
We were also given the number to Grand Street Medical, where we are told we could all get tested. That seemed like the obvious choice.
We were unable to get through to Grand Street in our first three attempts. When we finally got through, they told us to fill out a form on-line. Why they couldn’t have told us that either on the message machine or at the county number I have no idea.
We went on-line and filled out the form and began our wait for a call back.
In the meantime I researched getting the test at Rite Aid or CVS. Rite Aid had no appointments for the next three days. It also stated that the test results would take between two and seven days longer than the usual time, which is already two to seven days. Were they saying it could take 14 days to get test results?
On CVS there were no test appointments until the next day, which didn’t seem that bad. I took the very last Kingston appointment of the day. The test results will still take five to seven days, according to the website. Meanwhile, I had to schedule my husband’s test for across the river in Red Hook because there were no test appointments available to Kingston.
Just to be sure that this was the fastest way to get our results, we also began the process of calling around to other facilities. Most had appointments available in a few days.
We finally did get a call back from Grand Street. They said my husband could come in after the weekend, and that his results would will take three days. With my husband taking his test Monday and me taking my test tomorrow, we shall see who gets results back first.
To be clear, we have no symptoms. We have worn a mask and cleaned our hands compulsively. However, here we are wanting to ensure we don’t have Covid for those around us, and we won’t have results for a week.
In and of itself, we find that frustrating, especially considering my husband had a test when he went to a doctor’s appointment two weeks ago. His test involved a finger prick of blood and results in ten minutes. He was also told that all the doctors’ offices have this capability now.
If such a test exists, why is the general public having to wait an extremely long time? Why is the technology so backed up if a more efficient way exists? Speed of diagnosis seems to be a vital part of containing this virus.
It took us from 8:30 this morning until 2:30 this afternoon to confirm our tests in the next days. In the meantime, we plan to be more careful than ever. By the time I get my tests results, it is possible, of course, that I could catch the virus from another person out there somewhere.
It seems a highly inefficient system. I am surprised we don’t have more positive cases with this system in place.
A postscript: I got to CVS at two o’clock for my 2:20 test. I waited at the drive-through for exactly 20 minutes. A kit was passed through a window after the technician confirmed my appointment and identity. She walked me through sticking a cotton swab up each nostril for 15 seconds. The procedure was fairly quick and painless. Slight eye watering but nothing major. I asked how many days it would take until the results would be available. She confirmed the lab has been backed up, so seven to ten days has been the norm, but possibly sooner.
I’ve been told that the results of the swab tests, which are quick and relatively inexpensive to conduct, are much less statistically reliable than the blood-draw tests.