A few weeks back I went and got tested for Covid-19. There was a potential exposure from work the shift before and I didn’t want to further the spread if I had it. Most test sites require an appointment, including the drugstores. I decided to wait in line at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg as there was no appointment needed there and I could find out that day with the rapid test. It was done from the comfort of my own car which made it a much more pleasant experience.
Things that I saw during my trip to the Trop:
-There was somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 cars in total that were in line at the 8 a.m. start time. Everything seemed to be peaceful and orderly, no one seemed to be getting very impatient. Well, most folks anyway.
-Karen sent her husband up to someone in a safety vest to see what the delay was. He came back with an answer which he was apparently not satisfied with because she got out of the vehicle to ask for herself what was the delay. She got back in her vehicle and resumed patiently waiting.
-A mom was walking her 3-year-old daughter to the nearest port-a-potty quite a distance away from their spot in the waiting parking lot. Note to self: don’t show up with a full bladder.
-A BMW rear-ended a Toyota turning into the parking lot at about 3 mph. Everyone seemed to be fine except for the look of embarrassment on the face of the Bimmer driver. Still made a pretty loud noise.
If you’ve never been here are some helpful hints. Once you progress from the waiting lot to the snaking waiting line, they want you to scan a QR code to start filling out paperwork. Which is fine if you have a phone that does that kind of thing. Quick trick: just open up your camera and point it at the QR code. If you see a website tag come up, then your phone does it. Make sure you screenshot your QR code that you receive. If not, then you can fill out the old school paper and pen form. They will pull you out of line to do it. You can go back in, but it will delay your stay a little longer.
They are only doing the rapid test unless you specifically request the PCR test, which takes a few more days but is considered the gold standard by the CDC. If you are a first responder or are traveling this is the one you definitely need.
All told, I waited for three hours but this was better than waiting several days to test at an appointment only site. I received my rapid results as I was driving home. The PCR results came back in two days. The time invested was worth the piece of mind that I could safely interact with my family and resume normal pandemic routines. I would like to hope that this experience will be my last with testing, but I’m too keenly aware of how easily one can get snared in the ‘possibly exposed’ net. My only real hope is that I believe we can keep calm and continue to stay as safe as possible until we can reach the point of resuming normal activities without fear of this disease hurting our loved ones or ourselves. We’ve come this far and still got a ways to go, but we are starting to turn the corner. Slowly, but surely, we will get there.