Uncorked: COVID-19 testing process quite simple

Jun 30 • Bruce Uncorked, Feature StoryNo Comments on Uncorked: COVID-19 testing process quite simple

The Chatham Voice’s Bruce Corcoran gets swabbed for COVID-19 at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s Assessment Centre on Sunday. He explains the entire process in this week’s column.

Bruce goes through the process

By Bruce Corcoran

OK, no normal person likes having stuff stuck up their nostrils. Yet, that’s how they test for COVID-19.

I recently opted to get tested for COVID-19. Ditto for Chatham Voice reporter Jenna Cocullo.

In our jobs, we interact, albeit from a safe social distance, with other folks in the community, and wanted to be safe.

As well, I am experiencing an irritation in the back of my throat. For Jenna, it was some fatigue. Vague secondary symptoms, but better safe than sorry.

So we both booked appointments to get tested at the CKHA Assessment Centre on Emma Street in Chatham. 

Jenna’s results are negative. For mine, read on.

Booking an appointment is a very simple process. 

You just go to the website www.assessmentbooking.ca. Just make sure you are at the CKHA booking site, then click on “BOOK AN APPOINTMENT” (hard to miss) and fill out the online form.

Have your health card handy, as you will need information off of it.

As you complete the online form, you will then be able to pick the day you’d like to go for a test. It’s possible all appointments will be taken that day, but more likely you will have some selectivity, or at least you should have more options just one day later. 

If you don’t have access to the Internet (then how are you reading this?), you can call 519-352-6400 ext. 6548. After hours and on weekends, call ext. 6584.

I filled the form out online, chose Sunday at 3 p.m. and was told that is the quietest day at the assessment centre.

I drove into the parking lot and the gates were up; parking is free at this time due to the need for people to be tested. The CKHA could have used this as a form of a cash grab to charge folks to park at the 47 Emma St. location, but kudos to them for suspending payments and opening the gates.

When I walked into the assessment centre, I was greeted by a friendly staffer in scrubs, mask and face shield. She took my health card and handed it to the next staffer, who processed my information and checked to make sure it was me.

A matter of seconds later, I was in the examination room and talking to a nurse. She took the time to get as much information from me as possible on why I was there, offered to take my temperature (I took it at home the day before and it was fine, but thought it would be smart to take it again), and saw it was normal.

And then it was time to stick the swab up my nose.

I have to say, I sneeze a fair bit. I have allergies. And I didn’t think I’d enjoy having a cotton swab pushed up into my nasal cavity. I feared I’d sneeze during the process. The nurse explained for some people, their eyes water, but that’s about it.

She asked me to tilt my head back, and then inserted the swab. It went up and in until it encountered resistance. At that point, the nurse rotated it around for five to 10 seconds to get a good sample of snot or whatever culture they require for the test, and then she pulled it out.

I didn’t sneeze, or tear up. But it was certainly a bit uncomfortable. Then again, shoving a foreigh object up your nose should be uncomfortable.

She deposited the swab into a specimen tube, and off for testing it went.

I knew by first thing Tuesday morning, less than 48 hours later, I did not have COVID. It was that fast.

The nurse said regardless of the result of the testing, someone would call. But a person can also visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/ to get his or her results. That’s what I did. Again, have your health card handy.

So, no COVID for me, but I still have my minor throat issue. But in my case, I have seasonal allergies and asthma, two other very possible causes of my throat annoyance. 

It’s not like it feels like I have razor blades at the back of my throat, but rather there is an intermittent feeling the back of my tongue or back of my throat, on the left side, is, well, irritated.

I have post-nasal drip, thanks to my allergies. I fall asleep in a recliner regularly, and I snore. The post-nasal drip could account for my situation. Ditto for sleeping with my mouth open. Perhaps they work in concert.

Furthermore, the medication I take nightly for my asthma can be the culprit. One side effect is … throat irritation. And if you don’t rinse your mouth out properly and promptly after using it, it can cause a form of thrush — where a yeast infection can form in the mouth.

I guess now I will make a doctor’s appointment to find out more. In the meantime, I’ll continue to “gargle” with Scotch at night…




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