Many have likely seen the signs near Waitsfield Telecom over the last few weekends, alerting people to the fact that COVID testing is taking place.
Last Sunday, while driving by, I noticed the MRVAS rig and cars in the lot and turned in to check it out with the thought of taking a picture for the paper. Entering from the Old County Road side, I was met by a MRVAS member who asked if I had an appointment. I said I didn’t and before I could tell him I was just checking it out, he directed me to park over by some other cars. I made an on-the-spot decision to get tested, despite having no social interactions and my biggest exposure being double-masked grocery shopping.
I parked and another MRVAS volunteer came by with a clipboard and a form and asked if I had a pen. I did. The clipboard asked for basic information including contact information and why I was getting tested. I selected the reason for testing that referred to concern about community cases of COVID. The volunteer came back and took my clipboard back to the MRVAS rig where he entered the info into the health department system and generated a label for the test tube that would contain my test.
He returned carrying the test kit, a tissue and hand sanitizer. He handed me the tissue and asked me to blow my nose and then squirted hand sanitizer on my hands and asked me not to touch anything until the test was complete. He peeled open the end of the test swab package and asked me to grab the wooden end of the swab and instructed me to put the swab in each nostril and swirl it around for 5 seconds before placing the swab in the open test tube that was labeled with my information.
This COVID test was unlike the others I had this summer when I had to quarantine and get tested after traveling out of state. Those tests involved medical personnel inserting a much, much longer swab all the way up into the sinus cavity and swirling it for 15 excruciating minutes. This was a piece of cake in comparison.
The entire stop at the testing site took about 5 minutes from start to finish. It was 1 p.m. when I left there and shortly after 6 p.m. the next night I received results (negative) via email from the Vermont Department of Health -an impressive 29-hour-turn-around time.
According to Governor Phil Scott and Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine, these community-based tests will be here for the duration of the pandemic and should be used by asymptomatic people the way I did and can be used repeatedly without taxing the state’s testing capacity.
The testing dates are on the department of health’s websites and are being shared in The Valley Reporter and social media. It is possible to register and make an appointment and walk-in (drive-ins) are also welcome.