Column: Inside Michelle’s Mind

Getting tested for COVID-19 is not as bad as it seems


When COVID-19 had hit the United States, no one really knew what to expect. Testing is encouraged, but it can seem daunting at first, or scary to get a swab up your nose. Recently, I got tested myself, and a lot of my fears were alleviated. 

I work at a local business in Round Lake Beach, and in November, positive cases had popped up in the workplace. Luckily, I didn’t have contact with anyone who had tested positive, but I went right into quarantine regardless. 

I felt anxiety and uncertainty while waiting in quarantine. Had I been in contact with anyone who was possibly at risk? Did I bring the virus into my home? What would I do if my test results came back positive? Anxiety during the pandemic has risen and is very common. These are normal feelings, and it turns out that a lot of Americans have felt the same. 

 “Nearly half of Americans (48 percent) are anxious about the possibility of getting coronavirus, COVID-19, and nearly four in ten Americans (40 percent) are anxious about becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus, but far more Americans (62 percent) are anxious about the possibility of family and loved ones getting coronavirus,” according to the American Psychiatric Association. 

When I found out the news from my job, I immediately called my doctor to let them know and informed everyone who I had contact with. Since it was determined that I had third-party contact and it wasn’t as serious of a risk, I followed the recommended quarantine time before going to get tested.

“It is best to wait at least five days after your exposure to get tested. If you test negative, you will still need to monitor your symptoms for the full 14 days and you might need to stay home longer before it is safe to be around others,” according to the Virginia Department of Health. 

As cases have been rising in the holiday season, slots for testing have been filling rapidly and finding a place to get tested can be tricky. I woke up at 5:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning to drive to Waukegan for free testing. I arrived at 6:00 a.m., and a line had already been wrapped around the block, with testing opening at 8:00 a.m. 

As soon as the testing opened, the volunteers running the testing sight worked diligently, and the line started moving fast. People walked up to cars with a mask and gloves on to hand out paperwork and explained the process while you wait in line. In total, I waited around an hour before getting up to the testing booth when testing opened. 

I was nervous to have the test itself done, but I was pleasantly surprised by how it went. I stayed in the car for the test with the window rolled down, and my mask was over my mouth. The nurse testing me talked me through what she was doing the whole time and swabbed my nose really gentle.

My test results came back a week later, and luckily I was negative! I can’t stress enough how important it is to take the time to thank all of the nurses, doctors, and volunteers who are putting themselves on the line to test and take care of patients. Those that tested me made sure I was comfortable and were very professional throughout the whole process. 

I believe that spreading awareness about getting tested for COVID-19 and alleviating concerns is incredibly important. If you believe that you may have come in contact with someone who has the virus, I urge you to get tested and talk with your doctor. I promise that it’s not as scary as it seems!