Shortly before the return to school in early January, we received an email informing us telling about the availability of a COVID-19 home test. Parents were to pick it up at a specific school district location on that Sunday, either by car or by standing in line. Since it was rather cold outside and I was at church in person, my wife drove over.
Though she got there in the car before the designated time of noon, she spent about an hour in the line. From a Facebook list that I’m on, this was the experience of many people.
I started reading the instructions in the package. “Ensure you have an Internet connection and download the App prior to starting the test.” The app is something called On/Go.
“Ensure you have a compatible smartphone. (iOS 13 or newer for Apple iPhone and Android10 or newer for Android phone.)” Do I have iOS 13 on my iPhone 8 Plus? Apparently, I have 15.1. This exercise reminds me that Internet access and a smartphone are not luxuries but necessities in American life.
Studying for the test
The next morning my daughter and I start the process. I wash my hands, unpack the components, and place the test cassette “on a flat, clean surface. My daughter opened the extraction vial, I unwrapped the nasal swab. She decided she would swab her nostrils herself. I put it in the extraction vial, removed the swab, capped it, mixed it, then put drops in the test cassette. Ten minutes later, the test came back negative.
Meanwhile, I tried to scan the QR code on the box. But there is a white stripe that made the reading of the code impossible to scan. Ultimately, it didn’t matter. But I had to go through all of the instructions on the video, including the 10-minute wait before I could take a picture of my daughter’s negative results. It SAYS it’s a 10-minute test, but the whole procedure took closer to a half-hour.
Oh, and there was no imperative to actually go to the site to pick up the package since they would be distributed in the schools on that Tuesday. Incidentally, there are two tests per box, suggesting this testing may be replicated.
Meanwhile, I wanted my daughter to be able to get a booster. She had gotten her second shot in April. Just before the US Thanksgiving, I had gone to the county health website, filled out the form. The system said she was not eligible yet, which I thought was incorrect. I figured she’d have to wait until March.
Still, I tried the CVS page in early January, and I was able to make an appointment. She is now thrice vaxxed. Given the numbers in the schools, worse than the community at large (and those were huge at the time), this makes me quite happy.