LET’S TALK ABOUT THE COVID TESTS
Where do you see yourself in five years?” That’s an almost ageless question that rarely reaps accurate answers when the time finally passes. However, if you had been posed that hypothetical five years ago, who could have wildly divined that the world would be gripped by pandemic, lockdowns, the most comprehensive viral testing, and fervent search for a vaccine in recorded history?
There are three main types of COVID-19 tests—Molecular test (RNA or PCR test), antigen test (rapid test), and antibody test (serology test or blood test). As of the writing of this article, there are also four main types of vaccines – but that’s for another story entirely. (See more on pages 34-37).
Since the confounding of clusters arising from the Christmas season, curiosity surrounding the testing process has abounded beyond the borders of Barbados. What follows are personal accounts of the testing process, afforded by individuals that wish to remain anonymous.
“I was in contact with a few positive cases from one of the West Coast clusters (before knowing about the positive clusters). When I was contacted by the positive case, I was told they had to give my name for contact tracing and that I would be contacted by the ministry to go for testing. I never heard a word from the ministry and made the decision to go myself the very next morning to get tested privately,” said a female volunteer of insight whom we’ll call Jane.
She had been contacted by a friend that was able to get her an appointment for a private test at Worthing Court at 8 a.m. the next day.
She was placed in a private waiting room with air-conditioning and a bathroom and no one else. Due to car trouble of the nurse doing the testing, her 8 a.m. appointment didn’t occur till 10 a.m. “I was called in first as I was the first one there that morning,” she said.
“They had different groups arriving together and everyone was put in different rooms until they were called in for testing. “Everyone wearing their masks of course,” she added.
“The nurse was very pleasant and gentle. She just asked me to sit and blow my nose first to clear it out. She then took the swab and asked me to take a deep breath with my head slightly tilted back and that she would be as gentle as possible,” she said of the actual procedure.
Jane added, “She was very gentle and literally took about 30 to 45 secs to swab and then she asked me if I had been in direct contact with a positive case and I said yes. She wrote it on my form and told me I would need to go for a second test five days later, which I did.” This initial test was a PCR nasal swab.
“I wasn’t very happy about the twohour wait, as I was already anxious about the reason I was there to begin with. But I got over it when I realised how simple and quick the testing was and then my anxiety went back through the roof, when I had to wait for the results,” she added.
The results from her first test were sent to her – negative – in three days. Her second test was also done privately, this time at Sugar Cane Club. “Sugar Cane just had me waiting outside on the lawn, but there was no one else there when I was there,” she said.
“The second time there was no wait when I got there. I was tested by a doctor and his nurse. I was in and out in less than five minutes. However, the wait for my results was quite ridiculous and if I was ever positive, I would’ve been negative by the time of receiving results, I’m sure.” She went on to inform that the second set of results took ten days to arrive; also negative.
There will be more personal testimonies of the testing experience next month.