Do you find yourself asking, “How is the Coronavirus tested?” Furthermore, “where do I get tested?” Well, here is my first hand experience about how and why I got tested for COVID-19.
It’s certainly bad timing for anyone getting sick. Especially with symptoms that may represent COVID-19 as fear is in the air! Any cough, sniffle, temperature change or sense of a sore throat has everyone on edge asking, “could this be the Coronavirus?”
Knowing the answers to these questions is important. Particularly if you have had or may have had contact with many others. The time is now and responsibility ours in order to protect our community.
Why I Got Tested For COVID-19
Monday March 16th I lost my voice within a couple of hours. However, I was convinced it was because I had inhaled the fumes of disinfectant wipes all day. But the next day I woke up with no voice in addition to a sore throat and coughing. ALL RED FLAGS during these times!
Add to that, my contact with many people and I fall into the category of people who should contact a health practitioner. So, I decided to consult my friend who is a nurse. She informed me that fever is often the last symptom and to get tested regardless of missing this common symptom. But, where do I go? Furthermore, how is the Coronavirus tested?
Click here to read more about, What Is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus Self-Assessment Test
So, How is the coronavirus tested? Better yet, should you be tested? Well, the Ontario Government’s ‘self-assessment’ is the first place I would recommend to those curious to go.
The questions outlined in the self assessment are the same questions you will be asked if you arrive at a COVID-19 Testing / Assessment center.
Did you answer yes to the questions asked in the self-assessment? If so, you should seek clinical assessment for COVID-19 over the phone or call your healthcare provider. I tried calling mine only to get an answering machine message redirecting me to this exact assessment. Also suggesting I call Telehealth if the assessment indicates the need for further testing.
Click here to read, How To Prepare For The Coronavirus.
Key things to know about coronavirus testing
COVID-19 Assessment Centre Protocol
My next move was to call Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000 in hopes of receiving a referral from a nurse to receive an appointment for testing. I preferred an appointment then to wait in a long walk-in line up where I feared to be exposed to the virus.
While I waited on the line for over two hours, I realized the wait may be longer than driving around the city and finding an assessment center. While waiting on the phone, I searched for an assessment center online that would accept patients without an appointment or referral. I found the closest assessment center to me and decided to take a chance that they were accepting walk-ins.
St. Joseph’s Hospital was the closest COVID-19 assessment center. When I arrived, I drove around the building slowly looking at all of the temporary signage they had placed up. All to direct people on where to go. At every patient entrance, there was one to two employees at the door dressed in full protective gear.
How Doctors Stay Safe Battling Coronavirus
Protective Gear For Medical Staff Exposed To COVID-19
- Gowns over their clothes
- Face masks
- Hospital hats
- Helmets with shields over their faces
Finally we found the entrance off of Sunny Side Drive, close to the Queensway. I decided to leave my spouse in the car to ensure limited contact for her and avoid clogging up the already busy healthcare system.
As I walked in, a hospital employee opened the door for me to avoid contact with the door handle. There was a check-in desk with separation glass around it and two employees on the other side. First, they asked me the same questions found on the Ontario self-assessment.
Once I answered yes to two of the questions they asked me to disinfect my hands and put on a mask. Next, I waited in a line of less than 5 minutes to register. Everyone stood as spaced apart as space would allow. When I was called up to the registration desk, I was asked to hold my health card up to show her. Decreasing unnecessary contact in order to lower risk to the healthcare providers.
With no voice, check-in at registration was a bit of a struggle. Once registered, I hung up the phone with Telehealth Ontario. Which, by the way, I was still on hold waiting to speak with someone.
How Is The Coronavirus Tested
I was asked to wait in the waiting room until a nurse and test room opened up. There were about 20 seats in the room and 5 people waiting. Only two of us sat down (I had planned to wash my clothes as soon as I got back home).
My name was called within 5 minutes of waiting. I was brought into a room where a nurse asked me more detailed questions about:
- My symptoms
- Contact with others
- Travel history
Next, he checked my blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. When I asked, “how is the Coronavirus tested?” He explained that the swab would be “a different feeling” and wouldn’t be painful but would most likely cause my eyes to water.
I tilted my head back where he proceeded to push the swab to the very top of my nasal cavity. Next, he twisted the swab for an uncomfortable 10 seconds. So much so, my nose and eyes watered for the following 10 minutes.
Time For The Results Of The Coronavirus Test
The doctor came into the room briefly after testing and explained to me that it’s important to act as if I have the COVID-19 virus. At least until I received my test results which would come in 24-72 hours after testing. The system is backlogged with negative results, so the results may be received in the mail later than 72 hours.
If there are positive results, I was to expect a phone call. I was reminded that even if my test is negative, to not leave my home until my symptoms have resolved.
I was instructed to disinfect my hands as I left the hospital. Once home, I washed my hands again. Removed my clothes, put them in the wash and showered. Overall, I was impressed with the flow at the hospital.
From the time I walked into and out of St. Joseph’s Hospital COVID-19 Assessment center, I clocked 35 minutes. Their set up, process and procedures were well thought out and working smoothly. Thank you to the front line!
Ready to go to your nearest COVID-19 Assessment Center? Click here for the list of centers I used in order to find where to go