Blogmas Day 16: What Happens At A Drive Through COVID Test

This is not Christmas themed but this is very current. Yesterday I had a sore throat and developed breathing difficulties, I think it is just a cold but it would be selfish to assume. This morning my breathing was worse so I checked my symptoms on the NHS website. The website told me to call NHS 111, I answered quite a few questions by the health care assist and and she said I needed to have a doctors assessment. He called me within 5 minutes, he asked more questions and said that we wanted me to have a COVID test.

You go to the government website and select book a COVID test, there are several options but my one was advised to take a test. You then put your location in and fill in your details. The next screens gives you several options of test centres close to you. I chose Manston Airport, it gave you several times you could select and the slots are 30 minutes long. You then get a QR code on screen and a booking text and email.

When you arrive there are lots of signs to say keep your windows closed. An assistant approaches the car with a sign saying keep your window closed and hold you QR code or booking text/email against your window. Once this is done they allow you through the barrier. You drive round the first lot of cones where another assistant is waiting, they tell you to open your window by 2 inches. They then ask you if you are capable of doing a test yourself using a kit or if you need someone to do it for you. I confirmed I am able to do the test myself. They then told me to drive round to bay 2.

I drove round the cones and came to a T-Junction and turned right to the Self Test section. There were 8 bays. Each bay had a large tent like a car port and to the left a small container office. An assistant asked me to turn off my engine. He then bought over a sign saying keep your window closed and call a mobile number. When you call the number there is a doctor that talks you through the test and what you need to do. She asks you to open the passenger window by 2 inches and the assistant will post the pack through the window. You are then asked to drive through the car port and reverse park into one of the bays.

In the pack is a set of instructions, a tissue, hand sanitiser, a swab in a plastic case, a zip lock bag with a cotton pad and a bio hazard sealable bag. First you are advised to lay out all the parts on the passenger seat and check you have all the items. Use the tissue to blow your nose, dispose of this in the outer bad your kit came in. Then take your swab and rub it 10 times on your tonsils or the place where they would be if you have had them removed. Then you use the same swab and you go into one nostril until you feel resistance then turn the swab 10 times. Then you place your swab into the vile with liquid and break of the excess at the snap point. Retain the bit you have snapped off and put it in the bag with the tissue and throw away at home. Place the vile in the bag with the pad and seal this. Then put that bag into the bio hazard bag but do not seal as it will be checked by the assistant.

You drive round to the next point where they ask you to keep your window closed and gold your bag up to the window, they record the barcode on the bag against your car registration that is logged against your details. They then ask you to open the window by 2 inches and put the top of the bag through the window and they take it with a litter pick. You then drive through and out the exit. While driving home I received a text saying I will get my results in the next 3 days.

Although the process was not exactly pleasant it was not hard to so and it didn’t hurt. It is quick and takes about 10 minutes in total and then the peace of mind that you will get when the results come in is worth it. If I have COVID then at least I will know and can take the appropriate action.

I know this is not Christmassy but I thought it was important and might be able to help someone.

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