UPDATE: Covid Comes Knocking

Following my post yesterday, things moved fast. Julie persisted online, and was eventually offered a test at a place outside of Norwich, 25 miles away. As she was too unwell to drive, I took her there.

They sent a Q-Code to her phone, and she had to take that, and a photo I.D. She also had to provide the registration number of her car, so we took her car instead of mine. The test offered was in a time window from 5:30 PM until 6:00 PM, and we could not be late, or might not get the test.

One of the large Park and Ride bus car parks north of Norwich has been closed up, and completely taken over as a government test centre. It was signposted with special signs once you turned off the main road. On arrival, it is a strange experience. Large signs instruct you to KEEP WINDOWS CLOSED. Wearing a mask on a hot day in a closed up car was uncomfortable, but didn’t last long.

Once you are in the queue of cars, it doesn’t take long to get to the front. Then you are waved to a spot by one of the staff, and they hold up printed signs, so they don’t have to speak to you.

SWITCH OFF ENGINE
KEEP WINDOWS CLOSED
INDICATE WHO IS TO BE TESTED
SHOW YOUR Q-CODE

Then you are directed to drive under a temporary shelter. A young man stepped forward with more cards.

SWITCH OFF ENGINE
KEEP WINDOWS CLOSED
CALL THIS NUMBER ON YOUR PHONE

The number to be called turned out to be a mobile phone he was carying, and he stood next to the car chatting to Julie on his phone, telling her what to do. A sealed test kit was then dropped into the car through a partially open window, and we had to move up into another space, where Julie had to open the bag, and remove the items to test herself. After swabbing her throat and nostril, she had to seal the container into two bags. The man took a reading of the Q-Code again, and scanned the barcode on the test kit, then we were told to drive up to a cabin by the exit.

A young woman holding a large plastic bin appeared with more signs.

SWITCH OFF ENGINE
OPEN ONE WINDOW
DROP BAG INTO BIN AND CLOSE WINDOW

When this was done, she removed the barrier, and we were on out way home. The whole thing took ninety minutes from home and back again, and operated very smoothly. It had a strange dystopian feel to it all though, like being extras in a science-fiction film. A note included in the test kit said the reuslts would be available within 48 hours, and would be sent to Julie’s phone and email.

This morning at 9 am, she received a text that her test result was NEGATIVE.

The whole experience left me thinking about a few things. For one, the NHS really did well, after the shaky start when we were offered a test 100 miles away. So you have to keep trying online, and tests are available locally, until 8:00 PM. But then I thought about people who don’t have a car. They are not allowed to walk into that test centre, and no public transport can get you to it either. And what if they are not online, have no access to any computer, and don’t have a mobile phone? There must be some other way of course, but I bet it is not easy to arrange.

For those readers outside of the UK, remember this is all totally free of charge for us here.

So no complaints from me.

103 thoughts on “UPDATE: Covid Comes Knocking

  1. That is a huge relief maybe this is what my family members has to do too. I remember they self administered and felt quite lucky that it got done here for me but I didn’t go to the drive thru clinics which have been set up here too. It’s a huge relief for Julie to get that negative result. A huge relief. Best wishes to you both.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pleased it was a good result for you all. Esp as I have friends being directed on a 150 mile round trip for a test…for the result to be “inconclusive” get a re-test. Then offered this 250 miles away. They didn’t bother…just isolated for 14 days.

    So glad your experience a lot better.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was grateful to have the chance to read both these posts at a time so I didn’t have to agonize over whether Julie had covid. I am glad that she didn’t, though the bugs little kids get can still get us pretty sick.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Very reassuring for you that the test result is negative. I hope Julie didn’t pass the cold on to you.

    I wish you and your family stay healthy.

    The fear of contagion always goes with shopping and work. I hope there will be a vaccine soon. But now we have to survive the next wave of colds.

    Greetings from the North Sea, Irene

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A relief I am sure to get a negative result…it all sounds so surreal but well planned …my daughters was dropped off at her home they waited for her to do it and then off they went and her results came like yours pretty quick 🙂 All these lockdowns are scaring me all over again though …

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That scares me, Pete as many of my family live in the UK… I have lost my brother in law to Covid fortunately his wife didn’t contract it.. I hope the new guidelines keep it that way… Take care and stay well 🙏 x

        Liked by 1 person

  6. So pleased to hear the results were negative. Some of my step-family here in the US have been tested – all negative. A couple were work-related tests so in-house and free, but one stepson had a free drive-through test and the charge appeared as outstanding. Free sometimes means a hidden charge I fear.

    Unfortunately, one step-son’s in-laws have all tested positive, so his wife, kids, and him are keeping well away – especially as she’s a supervisor in a supermarket.

    Stay safe, sensible, and inspired, please Pete – and inspiring.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pete, I am so glad Julie was able to get a test. Praying for a negative report and full elimination of all appearances of any illness. Can’t understand why the results take so long to get. Anyway, I am just gratefully claiming full health and wholeness — body, mind and spirit — for you, Julie and Ollie!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Very happy that Julie’s test was negative. Sometimes we tend to forget that all our usual ailments are still out there besides the Covid.
    I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but our tests here are free also.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I am so glad the results came back negative for Julie Pete 🙂 Let us all hope that more and more people will test negative in the future, but the only way that will seem to happen will be after everybody is vaccinated from a COVID-19 vaccine, which has yet to hit the market. Again, the problem will not go away overnight, but it at least it will happen gradually. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Whew! The result was worth the ‘hassle’. I was sitting in the car in the health care parking waiting for my wife and at the far end of the lot there was a testing site like you described. I watched as three cars went thru. I can’t imagine the stress on the tester.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. When I read your post yesterday, I wondered if Juli’s grandson had been tested? That was also Nancy’s first question when I told her of your post. She could not imagine opening schools without fast testing for children and staff (she is a retired school teacher). Now that Juli is negative for COVID, does she qualify for sick leave? (What a strange system that does not reimburse for quarantine but does for not spreading other illnesses). Anyway, it is good that you have dodged the bullet, so far. Dodging the bullet is what we all do until there is a vaccine or cure. Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Her grandson did not have to have a test, which seems strange, I agree. They said that his cold symptoms did not have enough ‘indicators’ of possible Covid-19. As for Julie, they would have paid her, as it turned out, because it was them who told her to self-isolate. However, she is going back to work tomorrow, as she feels significantly better today.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so glad to hear Julie tested negative. I agree the process is rather strange but I understand the extra precautions taken for the health care workers who are at high risk, being exposed all day long. Bob was tested back in June by our health care provider and it went very smooth, though he didn’t have covid symptoms but went to see the doctor for something else. It was much easier then we thought; a drive through, no line, do it yourself, no charge. The hard part seems to be getting authorization to be tested. You’d think they’d want as many people as possible even if asymptomatic.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Well…I’m very glad to hear that the test was negative. That really make me breathe a sigh of relief. That said, reading a post like this, it often makes me wonder more and more if we really are living in some kind of post apocalyptic world…it’s so surreal at times 😢

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Glad to hear its not covid, although a nasty flu is still a nasty flu. My wife gets covid tested every two days because of her job, and has to wear a mask AND a plastic shield while working…and she’s making TV! Glad to know they have a system down that works efficiently…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. They come to her office and do it, she’s not allowed onto the NBC studio lot without a temperature check…all social distancing, but they are making TV! Glad to hear about Julie, better to deal with an illness you know! Hope she gets better soon…

        Liked by 1 person

  15. SWITCH ON COMPUTER
    OPEN BEETLEYPETE.COM
    READ BLOG POST AND COMMENT

    Glad it went so well. As for anyone who doesn’t have a car and/or mobile phone, they are instructed to visit the Soylent Green ( 超世纪谍杀案 ) factory. It is recommended to bid farewell to loved ones, and to learn how to say bon appétit ( 吃好喝好 ) in Chinese.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. What a relief
    I am so happy the results are in and good.
    It all sounds very organized. Now you know the routine – thanks for sharing the process- it will ease the mind of many who are facing the same situation
    Some of our eating sites here require phone/email registration and you get a code, but many are just drive up now. Sometimes the lines are very long there though. Federal, county, and city have free sites (drive up as well as some walk up near apt. complexes), but if you prefer you can go to private companies or even pharmacies and pay/use insurance. The car option sounds like the best
    We are on the outskirts of the 3rd largest city of the US with a giant med center in town that is working on vaccines as well as treatments so they are seriously urging everyone to get tested – they need the positivity rates and other data to try and figure this virus out.This virus has changed everything.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. So grateful to hear that her test was negative. I hope she is recovering quickly with great relief. Several of our neighbors had tests, some early on, and some about six weeks ago. Both waited 8-10 days for results. A cousin of mine in New England has COVID now (thankfully recovering); she was tested at work, I think, and got results more quickly. I hope it won’t be long till the instant saliva test is readily available. This is all so otherworldly.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Angela. They do have faster tests on trial here at Cambridge University. They work very quickly, (Just over one hour) but will be reserved for medical staff at first until the trials are completed. We were surprised to get the result back so quickly, which shows that they are really working 24/7 to try to get on top of things. Sadly, the government here has been playing catch-up for far too long.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  18. Pete, I am glad Julie’s tests came out negative and that you were able to manage to get one so close and so quickly. Suited staff still perform the tests here at drive up locations – for the reason Mary stated above. It is all still stressful and of course, those with less resources are certainly at a disadvantage. I read Canada has come up with a gargle test for children that is very accurate.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hadn’t heard about the gargle test, Maggie. Staff are available for those unwilling or unable to do the test themselves, but that would have meant a different queue. Julie was able to swab her throat far enough back to make her gag, so I think it was a valid test.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Well that is a good result, but I really don’t think people who are ill should have to go through all that. I think our only testing centre is in Plymouth which is a good hour and a half journey, one way. I can’t understand why there aren’t more mobile centres around the country and especially rural locations.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Good news! How unsettling from the onset of not feeling well to finally getting tested, and then the negative result. The details of the testing process were interesting. I think it is much the same here. Hopefully Julie is home resting and feels better soon. Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Glad it worked out well and you can both relax knowing Julie’s test was negative, which you had expected it to be. Though to pour scorn on the whole thing – most self-tests are negative because people don’t go far enough down the throat or up the nose to get a proper swab. We are programmed not to inflict pain on ourselves!
    My phone wouldn’t work with a Q-Code so I don’t know how I’d manage it. So far, the two tests I’ve had done were in hospital settings so I’ve not had to go to a test centre.
    Does this mean Julie can go back to work when she is feeling better and you don’t have to self-isolate?

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Thank goid ess she is ok Pete. That is the main thing. Glad the experience worked out well in the end. Was it hard for her to get the thingy up far enough into her nose snd throat? That must have been a bit scary. But now, she can rest and drink plenty, and get over her cold. Knowing also that there is no need to worry about Covid. Take care you two xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Very pleased to hear the negative [although positive as well!] result for Julie. I have an old iPhone, so I don’t even know if it can use QR codes: I haven’t checked, because after finding out that my phone wasn’t compatible with the new Lidl app for money-saving offers, which uses these codes, I didn’t take it any further. Luckily, I live in a very quiet little village. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 2 people

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