Two Negative Tests

A flurry here yesterday afternoon as Dr. Heather Morrison announced that two employees of the A&W burger joint in Charlottetown had tested positive for COVID-19. As it happened, Oliver had been through the drive-thru of A&W on Friday; presumably not a great COVID transmission vector, but as close as we’d bumped up against it.

Simultaneously, I wasn’t feeling well yesterday. In ye olde times I would have said I just had a mild cold, or perhaps I simply had a bad sleep, but I had a headache, sniffles, and felt achy. The Premier has been making a particular effort of late, at his briefings, to drive home the “you’re not being a calamity holler if you get yourself tested” point, and so I decided the prudent course of action was for me and Oliver to both get tested.

I drove us over to the Park Street testing clinic, in the old government garage, and we breezed right in. A few questions from well-masked-and-gowned clinicians—symptoms? out of province travel?—and then a quick and painless nasal swab, and we were done. Probably 20 minutes for the entire endeavour.

When we got home, I fired up my automated test results checking system (it needed a few tweaks, as the back end had changed a little); Oliver’s negative test result came back in a gravity-defying 4 hours, around 8:30 p.m., but mine didn’t arrive overnight and well into today, leaving me a little anxious for most of the day. The provincial system only provides results for negative tests—if your test is positive, you get a personal call from Public Health—so I was on tenterhooks waiting for the phone to ring as well.

But then, at 3:30 p.m., my own negative result came back.

I am, to say the least, relieved. And I’m thankful that I live in a place where our testing infrastructure and public health apparatus are well-organized, and where testing is freely and easily available.

Late today came the announcement that we are about to enter a “circuit breaker” phase for two weeks, moving to the “yellow” alert level; as I’m already chastened by my weekend experience, I was already disinclined to leave the house, so not much will be changed for me for this new phase.


Oliver (FS)'s picture
Oliver (FS) on December 6, 2020 - 22:22 Permalink

I think it's supposed to take 5-10 days to rule out COVID whether by PCR or antigen, but it sounded like you got yours only a couple days after Oliver's possible exposure. Is that right? Did they not order you personally to isolate for another week or two, or to get a follow up test? Anyway, yikes, and I'm glad for the positive result so far!

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 6, 2020 - 22:47 Permalink

From here:

If you were tested because you had symptoms and your result is negative, you do not need to stay in isolation after you receive your result online.”

Oliver (FS)'s picture
Oliver (FS) on December 7, 2020 - 02:39 Permalink

That makes sense. But does that apply to Oliver re: the drive through exposure?

Oliver (FS)'s picture
Oliver (FS) on December 7, 2020 - 02:40 Permalink

...and from Oliver thence back to you, since you’re enbubbled with him

Oliver (FS)'s picture
Oliver (FS) on December 7, 2020 - 02:51 Permalink

I’m encouraged that potential exposure was at a drive through, which sounds to me does sounds to me potentially safer than other ways you can come near to an infectious person. If Olivethe car ventilation were on, the car would have been blowing air out the window while it was rolled down, which is a standard technique in microbiology and medicine for minimizing contamination

Karen Charette's picture
Karen Charette on December 7, 2020 - 00:23 Permalink

So relieved to hear you both tested negative! Thank goodness I hope you feel well soon Pete.

Susan White's picture
Susan White on December 7, 2020 - 11:36 Permalink

Glad to hear you had a good experience and a favourable outcome. I'm envious of the way every other province is handling the pandemic. I am not enjoying living in Alberta at the moment.