What to Expect From Your COVID-19 Test


At some point or another, it’s likely that most of us will eventually get tested for COVID-19. This is our “new normal,” so you might as well know what to expect so you don’t have to worry unnecessarily.

I recently received a COVID-19 test, and here’s how it all went down:

Step 1 – make an appointment:

At MOST (not all) COVID testing sites, you will need to make an appointment beforehand online. Testing is generally free of charge, and it’s easy to find openings because of ramped-up testing protocols. 

Step 2 – go to the testing site and bring your photo ID:

I went to a drive-through testing site, and it was organized like a well-oiled machine. I was greeted at the gate by soldiers who confirmed that I had an appointment, and then I was directed to park in a nearby tent. I put on my mask, showed my ID through the closed window, and answered a few questions by rolling my window down just a crack. They then directed me to drive to the testing tent. Everyone was wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gear, and everyone I spoke with was friendly and courteous. 

Step 3 – take your test!

At the testing tent, more helpful medical professionals in full PPE requested to see my ID one more time, and then handed me the test kit through a slit in the car window. Most drive-through testing sites require you to self-administer your test. But don’t worry! A medical professional is right there with you and will give you detailed, step-by-step instructions the whole way through to ensure no mistakes are made. This is where I get nervous, because I’ve seen the internet. The internet told me that COVID tests involve shoving a cotton swab into your actual brain cavity. This is NOT ACCURATE.

I was instructed to put the swab far up my nostril, roughly until my eyes started to water. Approximately one inch. I rotated the swab twice and left it in for 15 seconds, and then repeated the process in the other nostril. Is it comfortable? No. Is it painful? NO! In my opinion, getting a throat swab to test for Strep is FAR worse. It’s no big deal and is NOTHING to be afraid of! Once I was done, I put the swab in the labeled test tube and handed it to the medical professional. 

Step 4 – you’re done!

That’s it! My appointment was at 9:40 a.m., and I was driving away less than 10 minutes later. The entire process was quick, easy, and handled with the utmost professionalism. I was very impressed. So if/when you need to get tested for COVID-19, don’t worry! You’ll do great! 

Have you had a COVID-19 test? What was your experience like? 

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Kimberly is a writer, speaker, wife, and new(ish) mom. She directs the teen pregnancy prevention program for Daybreak pregnancy center, and is a founder of Pearls, an organization that serves women in the sex industry and fights human trafficking in the Midlands. She studied English literature at Florida Atlantic University, and though she will always be a Florida girl at heart, she has called Columbia home for the last seven years. She and her husband Braden have been married for a fabulous decade, and they welcomed their first child, Declan Finn, into the world on June 3rd, 2015. She is a contributor for Scary Mommy, the Huffington Post, and The Mighty. You can find her wandering around the great outdoors, drinking far too much coffee at her favorite local shops, and on Facebook.


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