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My trip to the COVID-19 walk-in clinic in Shoreline

Waiting for a COVID test in Shoreline.

A poke to the brain. That’s how a lot of people describe the COVID-19 test, as someone jams a long Q-tip up your nose to get the proper sample.

I drove to Tacoma for COVID-19 antibody testing

I went to a COVID-19 walk-in clinic to find out for myself. It wasn’t something I wanted to have done, but on the advice of my doctor, I went in to get tested.

I’ve been dealing with a sinus issue for almost three months, and I have been afraid to go in and get treated because anyone with an ear, nose, or throat issue has to go to a COVID clinic; they can’t just go to a walk-in. They have to go to the segregated walk-in set aside for potential COVID patients.

I was afraid of exposing myself to the virus just to deal with a garden variety allergy or ear infection or whatever I had. I was also afraid of having a swab jammed into my brain.

After a video call with my doctor, he decided I needed to have someone actually look at my ears, nose, and throat to identify the issue, and since I would be at the COVID clinic, he thought I should get tested as a precaution.

I drove to the nearest COVID walk-in clinic in Shoreline, about an 11 mile drive. I went through all the hoops at the entrance.

“Fever? Cough? New aches and pains? Let’s check your temperature.”

I was directed to the segregated section of the clinic and asked another series of questions. I was the only one in the waiting room, though the nurses told me they see dozens of patients a day at this particular clinic.

Once in the patient room, I was greeted by a doctor and nurse in full protective gear, including face shields. It was a little odd, but both were very nice and calm. We went through a full exam, and then the doctor asked if I wanted to go through with the COVID test. My symptoms didn’t indicate COVID, but I was there, and thought I might as well find out.

I was prepared for a poke to the brain, but the doctor handed me the swab and told me to do it myself. He said I only needed to go up about an inch into my nostrils and swirl it around. It was relatively painless, and in 15 minutes I had the results. Negative.

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This self-test is becoming the standard for COVID testing. Instant tests like this are also on the rise, though many people have said it can take a few days to get results at other testing sites.

My advice after this experience is simple: Go to the doctor if you need treatment for something. Don’t delay your health care, and don’t be afraid of the COVID test.

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