It’s been a wild summer! When it was hot, it was super-hot. When it rained, it seemed to rain for days. And when Covid-19 cases started to increase, they really skyrocketed. Even a month ago many of us felt more comfortable reuniting with family and friends, heading back to social gatherings, and perhaps even started taking our masks off in stores. Yet today, the dark cloud of more cases and even some deaths amongst our precious community is all to present. As unsettling as it is, we must be proactive. When it comes down to it we must make choices to keep ourselves and our loved ones as safe and healthy as possible, which might mean getting a Covid-19 test. It’s quick, it’s easy and available to anyone in our community as well as statewide.
Covid-19 testing has really come a long way in a short while. At the start many people were experiencing the unpleasantness of a healthcare worker swabbing deep in their nose, to where you can simply take something the size of a cotton swab and do it yourself. Not to mention, it’s free! Yes, when you get tested at a state site, it’s at no cost to you. There are also a few options for locations with broader hours, making testing more accessible to everyone.
Who can get tested? Anyone and everyone. As listed on the Vermont Department of Health Website, “Anyone can get tested for COVID-19, including visitors to Vermont and international travelers. People with or without symptoms can be tested at most testing locations. Testing is free to all, and many sites now let you take your own sample using a short swab in your nose. Making an appointment reserves your spot and avoids longer wait times. Walk-ins are welcome as long as time and supplies allow.” The closest locations for many of our readers would be at North Country Hospital in Newport and at the Island Pond Health & Dental Center in Island Pond.
How do you register? As mentioned above “walk-ins,” are available, although preference will be given to those with testing appointments, so consider making your own appointment if you can, as it’s super easy. You can register online at: https://vermont.force.com/events/s/selfregistration or you can call the Vermont Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center at (802) 863-7240.
What do you need to get tested? You will need to share some information like your name, phone number and address. You do not, however, have to share insurance information or give out any payment methods. Tests are free! But it is very important that your contact information is available for getting you your results. For most people results will come in the form of an email and others will receive a phone call.
How long does it take? As you can imagine with the uptick in cases, there is an uptick in testing. Most test results come back in 48-72 hours. No news doesn’t mean you are free and clear though. Should there be a delay in results you should still act with caution. You will always receive results, no news means, no news, please wait safely. You will receive a result.
What if you test positive? First things first, you aren’t alone. Coronavirus does not discriminate and is very easily transferred. There is no shame or guilt in being one of the millions to be infected. Next, comes helping to keep others safe. You will be asked to share your contacts of the past few days. There are also many treatment options! For some, being self-isolated at home with medications, plenty of fluids and rest will help you recover. Others may need more intensive treatment which you will discuss with a medical provider to make the best action plan for you and your health.
What if you are negative but still have symptoms? You may be asked to self-isolate until you can test again. Some people take several tests before testing positive, while they are showing very classic Covid-19 symptoms like lack of smell and taste, dry cough, and fever. Its very important you take this self-isolation period seriously so that in the event you are covid positive, you aren’t spreading the virus to those around you.
Who should get tested? This isn’t an easy answer. Obviously, anyone with symptoms should be tested. If you have found out you have been in contact with someone covid positive you may be asked to test. Other people will test after being at large gatherings, some will test after not wearing a mask and feeling uneasy about it. You may see families that have had exposure at school or daycare. Some will take tests so they can travel. Some will take tests so they can have medical procedures. There’s a whole slew of reasons you may see someone you know waiting for a Covid test.
What do we know about testing? Testing is a great way to slow the spread. While we don’t encourage anyone to live carelessly and then test (some symptoms don’t show for up to 14 days and in the meantime, you could be infecting others), but testing can help you get the medical care you need, it can help you feel more confident if you have been traveling or perhaps been at a large indoor gathering. We also know that tests are never 100% perfect. Sometimes you get a false result and if you think that’s you, you can test again. You can also call your health care provider for assistance on whether you are a testing candidate. You can call the department of health, you can visit their website, etc.
There is no shame in awareness. One of the best ways to be aware if you may or may not have Covid-19 is through a test. It’s important for the ones you live with, work with and love that if you think you might have been in contact with or contracted this virus that you get tested. If you test positive, then you can take the swift steps to get yourself well and if you test negative you can decipher if you need to test again, may have a different condition or if you are safe to move on. Vaccinations are proving to be the best way to protect yourself, and masks and distancing are also great tools for being out and about, but sometimes not all things are 100%. Together we can try to get our numbers lower, everyone healthier and back to a community that is thriving. For now, let’s do our best, and when we need to, take the test!
Director of The Wellness Center