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My Firsthand Experience in Surveillance Testing

by Bailey Weber

On Aug. 18, I participated in the COVID-19 surveillance testing administered on campus. I was randomly selected a few days prior to my test date.  

I was given specific instructions to do before I arrived and then my scheduled test time, which was bright and early at 8 a.m. They administered the tests at the Alumni Pavilion, with tape on the ground to keep up six feet apart. There was a video playing, which had real nurses explaining how to do the procedure. 

Once I got to the front of the line of about fifteen students, volunteers asked for my name and email address. They then requested for my student identification to make sure I was who I was claiming to be. I was then given a bag full of materials talked about in the video we had to watch when we walked up.  

In the bag, there was a test tube, two plastic bags of different sizes, a nasal swab, a barcode sticker, and a Lysol wipe. Once I was signed in, I got my temperature taken, and it was time for the test.  

I was told to walk behind a sheet where there was a woman in scrubs and, what looked to be a poncho (but was probably a type of PPE) waiting for me. She then told me to sit down and walked me through the test.  

First, I had to take everything out of the large bag and sanitize it with the Lysol wipe. Then, I had to uncap the test tube, which would eventually hold the nasal swab. After that, I had to break one end of the nasal swab, since it was very long. The end without the swab went into the trash. The fun part was next: sticking the cotton swab into my nose until there was pressure. I had to circle both of my nostrils three times, and then put the swab in the test tube. The feeling of the swab in my nose was odd. It tickled, but there was pressure behind it. The nurse was counting the times I circled my nose during the procedure.  

Once I completed these activities, I bagged the vial first into the smaller bag and sanitized it. I then put the small bag into the larger plastic bag, and sanitized that. I finally put the barcode on the outside of the bag, and the procedure was done. 

Once the volunteer saw me do all of these things, she sent me out of the Alumni Pavilion and to a tent, where another woman was sitting at a computer. She scanned the barcode on my bag and then I had to put my bag in a fridge. There were volunteers by the fridge, and they thanked me for helping them out, and sent me on my way. 

My experience was not as bad as I expected. I was worried that they were going to shove the cotton swab so far up my nose I would cry. I was also worried I would find out that I did have COVID-19. I got my results emailed to me three days later, and thankfully tested negative!

1 Comment on My Firsthand Experience in Surveillance Testing

  1. Thank you for giving us your insight into the testing process. It’s so good to know (and I’m so glad your results were negative)!

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