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Coronavirus hits close to home

After four mouths of wearing a mask, washing my hands, and social distancing in grocery stores, parks, and restaurants, the novel coronavirus hit close to home 10 days ago.

On June 25th — my mother’s birthday, my partner discovered that her best friend tested positive for COVID-19. Since she had been around him two days prior, and her and I had been around each other in the last 24 hours, I went into momentary panic mode.

I panicked because I live with both my parents— in Houston, Texas (where cases are soaring), both whom are over the age of 60, and one who has a compromised immune system.

So, hours later, we went to an emergency room clinic at 3 am to wait in line to be one of the 100 people to be tested for the day. Bracelets for placement in line were given at 5 am. We spent the next several hours wondering what our results would be, since our appointments were not until 9 am.

Though we didn’t have fevers or chills, we did have a digital thermometer in the car to ensure that was the case. But no aches or pains or shortness of breath, loss of taste or smells.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but think how this would affect everyone around us. How would we tell our parents? How would we take care of our parents? How would we self isolate? How would we recover? We arrived early for our appointment.

After completing the requisite hospital paperwork for a 15-minute rapid test (which was more like a 30-minute test), hospital staff put us in the same room. Then a set of nurses and a doctor came in; they asked more medical questions, took our blood pressures, and temperatures again.

Then came the COVID-19 viral test.

Viral tests check samples from your respiratory system, such as a swab from the inside of your nose, to tell you if you currently have an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Imagine a six-inch Q-tip partially inside your nostril. Yeah. It’s not the most pleasant of feelings, but we were doing this together to protect our loved ones.

Therefore, I am happy to say: we both tested negative for COVID-19. And her best friend is on the road to a full recovery.

Bottomline: We are well aware that just because we tested negative for COVID-19, we probably were not infected at the time our samples were collected. And, it doesn’t mean we will not get sick. The test result only means that we did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing. 

Thus, we will continue to be vigilant about sheltering at home when necessary, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (i.e. tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks), wearing face masks in all public spaces, maintaining proper social distancing measures, and washing our hands at least a hundred times a day.


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