‘An element of panic’ - My experience of getting a coronavirus test

A member of staff testing a member of the public for coronavirus. Picture: PA

A member of staff testing a member of the public for coronavirus. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

A parent, who does not want to be named, has shared what it is like to get a coronavirus test in the city - and it was not what they had hoped.

After three days of frustrating attempts to book a test for my ill family it felt like winning the lottery when Friday afternoon the website said tests were available at the UEA in Norwich. Bingo! No long journey so low stress – or so we thought.

We were under the impression that the tests would be administered by someone who knew what they were doing. How wrong we were.

At the site we were met with a mélange of cones in a sort of track layout, temporary trailers, tents, and high-vis workers wearing masks.

A young man, with an air of panic in his voice, insisted I close my car window as he held up a sign with instructions to call a phone number.

Over the phone we were told we were to self-administer the tests while in the car and that the windows must remain closed. Any problems or questions we were to turn on the hazard lights.

Plastic packages were then slid through a crack in the window. The packages were home test kits. We were shocked. Why are ill people being made to drive so they can self-administer the test in the confines of a car with the windows closed?

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We thought someone would watch to make sure we did the tests properly, but this did not happen.

There was an element of panic in the car as instructions were read and the long cotton buds were aimed at the throats and nostrils of the children.

After unsuccessfully trying to reach their tonsils the hazard lights were activated, and we were told to do both nostrils if the throat was not possible.

Believe me, shoving the cotton bud the required distance up a small child’s nostril is traumatising for all involved. The look of fear on the children’s faces was upsetting. We had told them a professional would be doing the tests.

Eventually the tests were done as best they could be, and the sealed packages placed in a collection bin.

We were all stressed and overheated and could not wait to open the windows and breathe fresh air again.

We have no idea if we gathered enough ‘stuff’ to be tested.

The children are still off school as the results have yet to arrive. If they are negative, I am not sure we will ever get them to repeat the test if they become ill again.

The whole experience was unnecessarily stressful.

My advice is that if you have to get tested take bottled water, tissues, make sure you have your phone with you and be prepared to shove a stick up the noses and down the throats of those you love and yourself.

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