How to get tested for COVID and why you should

Yes, you!

~Travis Rocha, Lifestyle Editor~

Just when it seems like it could never happen to you, it does. Someone you came into contact with in the last 14 days has tested positive for COVID. A few days ago, one of my friends who I had been in close proximity with recently sent a message in our group chat to say that he was positive and we all should get tested. Soon enough, I realized that a lot of my friends were testing positive. Over the course of 24 hours, six of my friends all had positive test results and submitted themselves to self-quarantine. Immediately, I started googling “COVID test” to figure out how I could schedule one for myself.

After a little confusion, I was surprised with how simple it was to set up a test. There were several different testing centers to choose from, but I decided on Walgreens because they offered rapid 24 hour testing. The difference between a rapid and a regular test is the latter takes a few days to receive results back, but is more accurate whereas the rapid can have results back within an hour (and up to 24), but may be less accurate. I went to the Walgreens website, answered a few preliminary questions, and then was given the option to select a time for my test. Most of my friends were able to go in the same day, but all of the available testing times were taken so I had to schedule something for the next day. I felt fine, but stayed in my room for the day and monitored myself for any symptoms. The following morning, I woke up to a text from a friend who told me that he had just tested positive. Even though I felt fine, I resigned to the fact that I probably was going to test positive too. The nearest Walgreens testing center for me was in Hampton, so I hopped in my car and headed there.

The testing site operated as a drive-thru, so you stay in your car the whole time while the test is administered. The workers will check your identification, ask questions, and clearly instruct you on how to properly conduct the test. The test itself is just a nasal swab which is a little uncomfortable, but overall completely painless. For me, the worst part was easily waiting for my results. I was told I’d hear back in an hour, a sentiment echoed by my friends, many of whom said they heard back within 30 minutes. I waited nervously by my phone in my room, but didn’t receive my results until the next day. Thankfully, I was negative, but with so many of my friends falling ill, this was a wake up call to ensure that we all continue to follow social distancing guidelines.

Many larger colleges had a large spike in COVID cases at the beginning of the year whereas Christopher Newport has been able to keep our numbers down due to on-campus restrictions and our smaller size. With a potential uptick in cases starting, it’s wise to get tested as soon as possible to prevent any unnecessary spreading. As college aged students, our risk is minimal, but the virus can cause serious harm to those younger and older than us. As such, it’s our responsibility to get tested and social distance in order to keep one another safe.

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