We've posted a lot on this site and on twitter about testing inadequacies with COVID-19. It's not always clear if you shoudl get tested. When you should tested. Where you should get tested. The whole process is shrouded in a bit of mystery. So we wanted to share two anecdotes about testing from two different states: Washington and Georgia.
This is my own story (TJ, one of the founders of the site). My 3 1/2 year old woke up on Sunday March 29th with a dry raspy cough and a fever. Normally we give it the usual 3 or 4 days of a fever before calling the pediatrician. However, in light of COVID-19, and the fact that we live outside of Seattle near Kirkland, WA, the original epicenter of this thing, we called the pediatrician after her fever persisted throughout the day. We probably called at around 2pm. We were told to come in for a 3:30pm appointment (only 90 minutes later!). We showed up and there were big, obvious, foreboding signs pointing us to a side entrance. When we arrived we were given masks (this was over a month ago from this writing; we now have our own handmade clothe masks) and Lil's temperature was taken. She still had a fever so we were escorted in.
After the nurse came in and did the usual vitals check, the doc came in full PPE garb looking like she just walked off of the set of Contagion. She did an exam and shrugged and essentially said "COVID looks like a few common things so it's hard to tell if this is pneumonia, COVID, or something else entirely". She asked if we wanted a test and we said yes. 10 minutes later my 3 1/2 year had the really uncomfortable sensation of getting a cotton swab up her nose. Her reward was a lollipop and some ice cream when we got home.
2 days later (54 hours to be exact) on March 31st we received a call from the pediatrician saying she was negative. The process was efficient and clear.
Washington feels like the sort of state who took this seriously from the very beginning. That is reflected in our experience getting a COVID-19 test.
This story is from a friend who recently reached out to tell us a relative of theirs had tested positive for COVID. They gave me permission to share this here on the site with the condition that I kept it anonymous:
"First symptom last Monday (April 20th). They called to get a test. Originally scheduled for Wednesday (April 22nd), but testing site pushed it to Saturday (April 25th). Supposed to get results by Sunday / Monday and heard nothing. Finally they called on Tuesday (April 28th) and was told she was “somewhat positive” with no further description of what the hell that meant. Results emailed yesterday said results were “detected abnormal” which is very unclear. Nobody could translate that for us over the phone. After 8 years of googling find out that is their terminology for “positive”
There has been zero effort by the state to do any contact tracing and they haven’t even given them any advice on whether she should notify anyone she's been in contact with"
Georgia, my adopted homestate and where I spent more than 2/3rds of my life, is the sort of state who feels like they didn't take this seriously and therefore is lacking the infrastructure to properly deal with a virus operating at this scale. Given that the state just re-opened and lifted their stay at home order, I don't see that mentality changing anytime soon.