Sunday morning I woke up with the beginning of a head cold. Having to get up at 6am (due to my toddler sized alarm clock), I felt like breakfast and a coffee would help set me straight. By 10am I had a runny nose. That was it. No cough, no fever, no other devastating side effects. Just a runny nose. It was then that I decided to get tested for coronavirus.
Was I being dramatic? It sure felt that way. Was I doing the right thing? Most definitely. You see, the only contact I have had outside my three person (and one dog) household has been a cautious trip to the supermarket or chemist, occasionally filling up petrol and… that’s about it. I also have no one in my close network of family or friends that are likely to have coronavirus.
Yet I still decided to get tested.
The first thing I did was google ‘where to get tested for coronavirus’ which brought me straight to this page, whereby the Chadstone carpark drive through testing centre seemed to be my closest option. I’m not very familiar with this car park but the instructions on where to find the testing site where pretty straightforward and there were only a few cars ahead of me when I arrived in the queue.
I was asked to turn my engine off, as a masked attendant explained that the fumes were not great for the medical team in the carpark all day. It was a cold winter morning and I really felt for them in general having to be on their feet all day, working in a cold car park on a less than thrilling task.
I provided my license to a second attendant who asked me to explain my symptoms. It felt good when she let me know I was doing the right thing in getting tested. The next drive by my throat was swabbed which felt the same as saying ‘ahhh’ and getting your tonsils looked at by a doctor. Then my nose was swabbed which did have a slight pinch, yet was quickly over and more a surprising sensation than a painful one.
I was told to wait 1-3 days for my results, which would be sent via a text message. I was told that until then, to ‘act like I had coronavirus’ which meant no shopping or mixing with people at all. Although it was tempting, I didn’t hit the Chadstone shops after my test for fear that maybe my little runny nose was more than it seemed.
In the 24 hours that followed I couldn’t help but recall all the places I potentially had been in contact with others. During my Saturday trip to the supermarket, had someone picked up a banana I decided not to purchase? (I am fussy with bananas). Could this banana shopper have passed on my runny nose to their grandma, who then tested positive to coronavirus? It was easy for me to picture how quickly this virus could spread.
Monday morning came and I received an SMS confirming that I did not have coronavirus. The days that followed were spent on the couch nursing my head cold and there isn’t much more to my story at this point. You see, this story is all in all pretty ordinary. Not much has happened aside from me driving to a carpark with a runny nose. But it is these ordinary decisions to get tested and stay home which are having an extraordinary impact on everyone else.
So, be ordinary like me. No matter how mild your runny nose, cough or cold seems it is worth getting a simple test done. If your family member or friend are unsure about their cold, tell them to get tested too.
To find out where to get tested visit: vic.gov.au/CORONAVIRUS
If unsure, you can also call the Victorian coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 or contact your local GP.
This message was delivered by a Carrington Health staff member and in support of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services ‘get tested’ messaging.
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