First, because many of you are wondering: COVID-19 tests don't really hurt, but--based on my experience Tuesday--there's potential for discomfort.
My assignment sounded simple: get tested and report on how it feels. But it's important to note that you can't just roll up for a test at a location like the CVS on Six Forks Road in Raleigh without an appointment.
That's done in advance, by visiting the testing site's website and answering a series of questions about your health, any symptoms you are experiencing and possible exposure to the virus. Once that's done, your information is reviewed and if you get a confirmation email, you can select a time and location for your test.
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The technician on the other side of the glass at the CVS was very helpful, and walked me through the process: you must wear a mask, remain inside your car and perform the test on yourself.
The challenge for some will be probing each nostril with a cotton swab--back further than you may expect--and rotating the swab for fifteen seconds each. Once that's over, you place the swab into a sterile tube,then a plastic pouch and drop that into a secure metal collection box as you drive away from the collection window.
Expect results from your test in two to four days--depending upon the location of your test and the volume of tests performed that day.
We checked three possible test sites on Tuesday and one was so busy that the earliest available appointment date was the following Friday. So, you may have to shop around and be patient if you believe you really need a COVID-19 test.
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Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen suggested anyone who has been in a mass gathering--including protests--should get a test.