COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing

Because I have a minor medical procedure at the end of this week, I had to get tested for COVID-19 today. I was tested at a drive-thru location near the Providence Portland Medical Center. It’s right across the Banfield in a parking lot that is probably a shuttle parking location for the hospital. My instructions during a phone call the night before were “Bring your ID and a tissue.”

The parking lot has three stations, each manned by several people under a canopy. At the entrance to the the parking lot is a security guard who waved me towards the first station. A lady at the first station held up a sign that told me to roll up my window (which I had rolled down as I pulled in). After I did that, she held up another sign instructing me to place my driver’s license against the window. I did so.

She consulted a clipboard and then waved me on to the next station. At the next station, the first sign asked for me to hold my license against the window again. After they confirmed who I was, the next sign instructed me to blow my nose. After I did so, they waved me on to the final station where a woman wearing a mask and face guard waited.

Again, I placed my driver’s license against the window and she confirmed my identity matched the test kit she held in her hands. She then asked me to roll down my window and then told me to place my hands on the steering wheel and  lean back in my seat. She briefly described the procedure which involves swabbing your nasal passage. She said it would be uncomfortable but it would be over in 10 seconds. I nodded and closed my eyes.

What followed was the most intensely uncomfortable 10 seconds of my life. It was astounding just how… intense it was. “Wow” I said when I opened my eyes. I then thanked her, rolled up my window and drove off. “Wow”, I repeated to myself several times. I could feel the effects in my nostril acutely for at least 5 minutes after and can still feel it slightly two hours later. Wow.

Results take 3-4 days which will be just in time for my procedure on Friday.