Waiting on (Another) COVID-19 Test

I can’t remember how many times I’ve been tested for COVID-19, but I’ve always been negative.

Right now, I’m waiting for my latest results to return and sitting with this uncomfortable sense of “what if?” playing out in my mind.

Last Saturday, Laura and I were both exposed to someone whose family member tested positive later that day. That person tested positive mid-week. Both are doing okay but quite sick. They contacted us right away so we had time to get a plan.

We realized we didn’t know the current protocol. So we looked up the CDC guidelines and realized we had to wait until Day Five for an accurate COVID-19 test. So we scheduled that through our local Rite-Aid. We avoided other people and wore masks. On Monday, I called our primary care provider, Metro Community Health, to speak with their dedicated COVID-19 case manager. She went over the timeline with us and and our health histories, then gave us a plan. We both had healthcare appointments for other reasons during the week so we called all of those providers to develop a plan. Laura’s boss told her to work from home so that helped.

Today was the test. Hopefully, we’ll get a very fast turnaround because everything is closed on Monday. We are unsure about the antibody infusions because of our age and underlying conditions. I have constant COVID-19 like symptoms due to allergies so I religiously check my temperature and use the pulsox. I monitor my breathing with the peak flow meter.

I feel different this time, sort of that flush/feverish disconnect from reality. You know? Last night, I called Laura inside in a panic, convinced someone was banging on our backdoor. They weren’t. The UPS man was banging on our neighbors door. That’s highly unlike me so it makes me wonder.

Numbers are up. Just tonight, Allegheny County moved designations. From the Post-Gazette:

Allegheny County’s community level of COVID-19 was elevated to “high” on Thursday evening by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The county moved to “medium” risk two weeks ago on May 12 after being designated as “low” since Feb. 25, when the CDC announced new metrics to assess COVID-19 risk.

In counties with a high community level of COVID-19, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors in public.

We are both vaxed and boosted. We wear medical masks. We carry wipes with us and use sanitizer. We consider ourselves careful.

But we let our guard down. We were outside and had close conversations with someone who didn’t realize they might be a carrier. It was an easy mistake to make. And we won’t repeat it again.

Yes, we have at-home tests. They aren’t always working (at all) so I’m skeptical. At-home tests are one reason the reported numbers are probably 5-10x below the reality. They are a tool, not a substitute.

The new variant is a source of concern.

analysis from the county shows that the majority of COVID-19 infections are caused by the omicron variant. This analysis does not provide subvariant data. However, limited specimen sequencing of test results finds that two omicron subvariants, BA.2 and BA.2.12., account for 61% and 33% of cases respectively.

I have not yet had my fourth booster because I’ve been sick for months with allergies and my ongoing GI issues. I’m hoping if I test negative, they’ll let me get the booster next week.

Laura and I talked at length today about making some lifestyle changes to move back to a more careful position. Of course it is annoying, but given what people are going through in our nation right now, it isn’t a heavy lift. Fortunately, we can go outside into our yard and socialize a bit even enjoy a shared meal.

I wonder if I feel different this time because I’m actually sick or just because of the realization of how sloppy we were last weekend. Obviously, I don’t want to be sick. But a ton of people that I know are currently struggling with COVID-19 and that’s a little worrisome. I need to be very careful because I have a hard to get medical appointment at the end of June that I cannot miss or reschedule.

I urge you to stay on top of the data about transmission, protection from vaccines, and your everyday choices. If you come to my house, wear a mask and wash your hands. You know the routine.



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