Test and trace in Virginia (8 days of patience required)

I recently spoke with two attorneys from Charlottesville, Virginia. They wanted to get tested for active coronaplague in preparation for a family reunion that included some older relatives. One is employed by the state and therefore both have absolutely top-of-the-line health insurance.

“Most of the places we called said that we couldn’t get a test unless we had symptoms,” said the wife. “We did finally find a place, but they said that the results wouldn’t be available for 8 days.”

Maybe things are better in Maskachusetts? Cambridge was offering free testing for residents and, by July 8, the entire month of July had been booked (i.e., the wait to get tested and then receive a result would be at least 25 days or so).

3 thoughts on “Test and trace in Virginia (8 days of patience required)

  1. It seems it greatly depends on where you are in Maskachusetts. Two weeks ago I was scheduled for a drive-thru COVID test at a central MA hospital. The scheduling was done well in advance, I thought, because they must be overwhelmed and super-busy.

    Monday morning I drove up to the hospital at 7:59 a.m. sharp for my 8:00 appointment. I expected to encounter a line of cars. Nope. I was the first car in an otherwise empty parking lot and the workers were still setting up the tents and the signs and putting the materials in place. They radioed my arrival at the first station on the perimeter of the lot, then I waited a few minutes for the testers to don their face shields, gloves, gowns, etc., and break out the testing kits. Nose swab right nostril, nose swab left nostril, done. It took 30 seconds. I drove away and was still the only car on the premises. The results were in by the next afternoon: negative.

    Now, this was a test that was scheduled by my surgeon two weeks ago in advance of a procedure I need, so I can’t say how “open to the public” it is. But I get the sense they could have scheduled it last Friday and I still wouldn’t have had any delay. Bottom line: if you’re being tested so you can *be admitted* to a hospital, at least in central MA there were no delays.

    They are protecting the hospitals pretty fiercely here. My experience with testing aligns very well with my other hospital/medical visits recently: no lines, very few patients, easy in and out, fast results, especially if you are scheduled in the morning.

  2. Recently, it was 11 days in Northern California, with a test from the county.

    IMHO, this is basically useless, due to the long turnaround time.

  3. China recently tested 10 million people in Wuhan, the vast majority of whom were obviously not displaying symptoms:

    Meanwhile in the US, we have no coordinated plan for how best to use our tests, and our contact tracing sucks. Trump claims we’re doing more testing than any other country, which is probably true on some measures, but we aren’t doing any population-wide sampling or making a serious effort to stamp out the virus through comprehensive testing (e.g., NYC has fewer than 10 million people, so we should’ve been able to test all of NYC). Why are we so far behind China?

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