What It's Like To Be Tested For COVID-19

I'm sharing my experience so that you'll have a better idea of what to expect if you ever have to do the same.

Yesterday, I got tested for COVID-19. Despite being asymptomatic, I was ordered to undergo the swab test as I'm part of a high-risk cluster in Kuching, which has been designated as a red zone for the disease. It is likely that we were being tested to prevent asymptomatic carriers from unknowingly spreading the disease. If you haven't been called or ordered to undergo testing, STAY AT HOME. This is what you should do if you suspect you have COVID-19: https://www.jarodyong.com/2020/03/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid19.html

In Kuching, the designated location for testing was Kompleks Belia & Sukan Negeri. I was able to park right by the gate because I used a motorcycle. Only staff vehicles were allowed inside the compound, so if I was in a car, I'd have to drive around until I found a spot at the curbside. MCO has prevented people from making a living so please ensure the safety of your vehicles. Leave no valuables.

At the gate, I spoke to & got approval from a medical worker before RELA let me in. Mainly, he ascertained if I was supposed to be there (close contact/high-risk cluster) & if I had symptoms. There were different processing areas for those with & without symptoms. Being without symptoms, I was told to register at Section A.

At Section A, plastic chairs were neatly lined up under a large canopy with barricade tape to separate the lines. The chairs were about 1 meter apart, but because of how compact the lines were, I'd be a meter behind the person in front of me, but too close to those lining up at my sides. Fortunately, there wasn't anybody waiting in line so I cut across the barricade tapes towards the registration table.

At the registration table, I had to stand 1 meter from the table, listen hard to speech muffled by masks, & speak loudly to be heard. I had to take out my MyKad & place it on a designated spot on the table. They filled in a form with my particulars & asked if the address on my MyKad was my current one. They also asked for my contact number. After they were done, I kept my MyKad & was given sanitizer for my hands. Then, I entered the hall for processing.

Entering the processing hall, I smiled to myself as the plastic chairs were arranged in an SPM-esque fashion. I was reminded of the good ol' days when I invigilated national exams. Chairs were arranged more than 1 meter apart from each other on all sides. It was hard to hear the muffled & often mispronounced names so I moved to a front seat as soon as one was available. I made sure not to touch anything with my hands.

I had to wait for my name to be called twice. The first time was to determine the exact date of contact (with an individual that tested positive) or attendance at a high-risk event & to describe the type of contact (kissing/hugging/handshake/talking). At the end, I had to sanitize my hands & sign the declaration form. After waiting again in the same hall, I was called a second time & given specific instructions for a 2-week mandatory self-quarantine. It ended with hand-sanitization again & another signature confirming that I understood the quarantine order. After signing, I was officially a Person Under Investigation (PUI). Then, I was handed a bunch of papers & told to leave for Section B.

Outside, a RELA service person told me not to go to Section B, & to go beyond it instead. Being a blur idiot, I trusted the medical worker more than the RELA service person. While lining up at Section B, pink sheets of paper indicating that the area was for people with symptoms caught my eye. Realizing my mistake, I quickly left the area & headed beyond Section B praying that I didn't catch anything there.

Beyond Section B was an open-air cafeteria & beyond that was the swab test area, set up at a narrow shaded corridor. There was 1 row of plastic chairs lined up 1-meter apart & upon arrival the person at the front desk asked for my name. After a brief wait, I was called by name to one of the swab stations.

Two people conducted the swab. One held a large ice-cream stick down my throat while the other used a super long cotton-bud-like device to make 3 scrapes off the back of my throat. Felt like someone was giving my throat a nice scrub. I didn't gag even once because I prepared myself mentally & physically by relaxing my body & my neck while waiting. You can do this too! Before leaving, I sanitized my hands & wished them all the best.

The entire process took roughly 1 hour & 45 minutes. I'll receive a call in 3-4 days with the results. I pray that it's negative.

I hope this account was helpful to you. The medical personnel & RELA were highly professional. I felt very safe & respected in their hands. If you were tested too, how did yours go? Did you have a similar experience? How about those with symptoms?

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