VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — COVID-19 testing — what’s it like?
You have to have scheduled an appointment online, and it helps if you have a Gmail account. You must be at least 18 years old and you are told to get there 15 minutes early.
So, I set my GPS to 2293 Upton Drive in southern Virginia Beach, which is near Sandbridge Road. The night before, I reviewed an instructional video that Rite Aid sent via email.
Once in the parking lot, I carefully followed instructions: Do not roll down your vehicle window until you are told to do so.
Rite Aid Manager of Clinical Programs Christopher Altman, says this protocol was established to protect patients and the testing staff.
“Because the windows are up and you are in your car, we can get closer in verifying your identity,” he said.
This is a self-administered test, which means you collect the tissue sample using a foam swab.
I have to admit, I was a little nervous — had trouble sleeping the night before — thinking about that swab. President Donald Trump has called the test uncomfortable. CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, who recovered from COVID-19, said her test, which involved inserting a swap deep in the nostrils, felt like a tickle to the brain.
Much to my surprise, the pharmacist, and later, Altman explained I did not have to do the brain tickle.
“You just put it inside your nose there at most — about half in — two quick circles and then you hold for 15 seconds, that’s to make sure you get plenty of the sample. You pull it out and you do that same process in the opposite nostril,” said Altman.
I dropped the swab in a solution, secured the lid, and returned the vial that contains your name and contact information. As I sat in my car, a long table separated me from the pharmacist.
In less than five minutes, I was back on the road. A safe and quick test is Rite Aid’s goal for anyone who is asymptomatic or someone with mild symptoms.
“You can get in, you can get tested safely and you can get it safely, and you can get on your way and get the results back to you,” said Altman.
Altman says testing is up 30 percent with the launch of the symptom-free testing. All results will be turned over to federal, state and local officials. My results will be delivered by phone and email in two to seven days.
For more information: https://www.riteaid.com/
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