Massive Free COVID Testing Lines = Higher Chance of Getting it There?

I'd love to have a free COVID test. However, the ones they do free here have lines that start hours before testing begins. LOTS of people show up. They have to take their masks off for a short time to get the test.

If a person doesn't have COVID, is it more likely they'd get it from doing free testing than just isolating at home (so many people breathing....probably lots of people having symptoms and worried....the testing staff not really able to clean the "air" and all surfaces around the testing stations as you drive up, etc)?

That's my fear.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2020 10:52PM by shoptastic.

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There are a lot of places that do 'drive thru' testing where you stay in your car with the windows up, then roll them down just long enough to get the test. Maybe your neighbourhood has one of these kinds. I think they would be very safe.
Unless it is the antibody test, why would you want a test when you aren't sick? The antigen test covers a very short window of time, and you could easily test negative today and positive tomorrow. Other than those required to do regular testing (like students on campus), I'm not sure how useful it is. And as you said, you have a greater risk of exposure to it in a public testing setting than you do staying at home (if that is still what you primarily do). Just curious what makes you want one? (I would think about doing an antibody test for myself, but I haven't heard of free testing for that.)


@shoptastic wrote:

I'd love to have a free COVID test.
I'm in the NG and regularly work at these drive through swab missions. It's pretty safe, you usually keep your window up until you get to the registration and then put it up again until you get to the swab. All the workers have masks on, and the people swabbing change gloves etc between each person. I would say if you're not sick then please don't go, unless you need a negative test for work etc. It just causes the line to be much longer for those who are actually sick/require it, and it brings the costs up. That being said, if it would make you feel more comfortable then everyone is welcome!
@Threemom wrote:

Unless it is the antibody test, why would you want a test when you aren't sick? The antigen test covers a very short window of time, and you could easily test negative today and positive tomorrow. Other than those required to do regular testing (like students on campus), I'm not sure how useful it is. And as you said, you have a greater risk of exposure to it in a public testing setting than you do staying at home (if that is still what you primarily do). Just curious what makes you want one? (I would think about doing an antibody test for myself, but I haven't heard of free testing for that.)
@shoptastic wrote:

I'd love to have a free COVID test.
Yes, good point.

I have had symptoms in the past, but that was over a month ago. I do have a new cough recently and people in my household have been going to the doctor more lately....possible I/we picked up COVID, but other than that I haven't had recent symptoms or much exposure. We typically always go to senior hour shopping times and only see our doctors when it's important (can't always get "first" appointment of the day when scheduling for a doctor, although we try).

I probably won't get one now that I think about it - at least, not one of these mass free testing sites where you walk right up. Unless I have very clear COVID symptoms, I probably would be better off staying home.

I'll be staying with elderly parents until early 2021, at which point I'll be moving out. I'm more scared for parents healthy than my own, as I'm still young (albeit not healthy).

re: antigen test

Is that the SAME as an antibody test? All the articles I've read on antibody tests talk about how unreliable they are. E.g.: [www.bloomberg.com]
@Bena wrote:

There are a lot of places that do 'drive thru' testing where you stay in your car with the windows up, then roll them down just long enough to get the test. Maybe your neighbourhood has one of these kinds. I think they would be very safe.
Yeah, drive-up testing seems safer than walk-up! smiling smiley

I guess I'd only wish there weren't as many people who go for these tests. It'd be even safer if I could find a free testing site with FEW people. grinning smiley To be first, you'd have to wait hours before they started testing. I guess that is an option.

Even when I go in for my doctor's appointments, I've been trying to get first of the day. Less chance for COVID spread from other patients earlier in the day is my reasoning.
@katiew27 wrote:

I'm in the NG and regularly work at these drive through swab missions. It's pretty safe, you usually keep your window up until you get to the registration and then put it up again until you get to the swab. All the workers have masks on, and the people swabbing change gloves etc between each person. I would say if you're not sick then please don't go, unless you need a negative test for work etc. It just causes the line to be much longer for those who are actually sick/require it, and it brings the costs up. That being said, if it would make you feel more comfortable then everyone is welcome!
Thanks for the post. Also a good perspective to keep in mind.

Sometimes there is just this itchy desire to know if I have it and/or have had it. But, I get the dynamics that you and others have talked about.

COVID is a true bane on everyone's existence! sad smiley
@Threemom wrote:

Unless it is the antibody test, why would you want a test when you aren't sick?
I've been tested twice. The first time was at the end of May, just to make sure I wasn't carrying the virus, as I've never had any symptoms. That was negative. The second time was mid-July....I had to prove to my son that I was still negative in order to go see my grandbabies.....you do what you gotta do!!! And yes, I was negative for that one also. So there are reasons to be tested even if not sick. As a matter of fact, here in SC, the DHEC has recommended that anyone who, for whatever reason, may be unable to social distance or to wear a mask, to get tested MONTHLY even if ASYMPTOMATIC. So yes, there are reasons to be tested if not sick.
@shoptastic wrote:

I'd love to have a free COVID test. However, the ones they do free here have lines that start hours before testing begins. LOTS of people show up. They have to take their masks off for a short time to get the test.
That's my fear.
That fear is understandable. I don't know where you live, but here in SC there are dozens of sites where you get tested in your car. Have you tried googling "Covid 19 free testing sites in my area" and see what comes up?? I'd be surprised if there aren't any drive-thru testing sites available.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/02/2020 03:43PM by guysmom.
The antigen test is supposed to test if you have it right now. The antibody one (antibodies typically take 2 weeks after exposure to develop) would mean you have had it in the past, but it won't say whether you have it again right now.

If you're curious about whether or not you've had it, perhaps you can donate blood. The Red Cross has been advertising covid antibody tests with every blood (or platelet) donation. I was thinking of going myself to see if i've had it because i'm curious too!

@shoptastic wrote:

@katiew27 wrote:

I'm in the NG and regularly work at these drive through swab missions. It's pretty safe, you usually keep your window up until you get to the registration and then put it up again until you get to the swab. All the workers have masks on, and the people swabbing change gloves etc between each person. I would say if you're not sick then please don't go, unless you need a negative test for work etc. It just causes the line to be much longer for those who are actually sick/require it, and it brings the costs up. That being said, if it would make you feel more comfortable then everyone is welcome!
Thanks for the post. Also a good perspective to keep in mind.

Sometimes there is just this itchy desire to know if I have it and/or have had it. But, I get the dynamics that you and others have talked about.

COVID is a true bane on everyone's existence! sad smiley
In my state, everyone who is tested has to isolate for 10 days regardless of the result. (Although that doesn't happen at the campuses where they randomly test, so I don't know how they differentiate that. Maybe a "voluntary" test would be in that category?) This is decimating the school staff where I substitute teach when they are tagged as a contact, and I think that this will close our schools eventually, as opposed to actually having ill staff and students.
@guysmom wrote:

That fear is understandable. I don't know where you live, but here in SC there are dozens of sites where you get tested in your car. Have you tried googling "Covid 19 free testing sites in my area" and see what comes up?? I'd be surprised if there aren't any drive-thru testing sites available.
Yeah, I have a link for testing sites saved.

I guess due to the "massive" people going for them, I worry about safety still. For sure, I'd only do a drive-up and never walk-up.

Most likely, I'll get tested next year when I'm no longer living at home. I have several conditions too, but I don't fear for myself as much as I do for parents.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/02/2020 09:04PM by shoptastic.
@Threemom wrote:

In my state, everyone who is tested has to isolate for 10 days regardless of the result.
That's good. I'm always reminded of a potential false sense of security people have with free and clear results. Sure, you may not have had COVID at the exact time you were tested, but you could have literally picked it up 10 minutes after testing and unless you tested again for it, then you'd not know from your test. smiling smiley

Still, a test with limitations is better than none.
This is from the CDC's 08/24/20 updated guidelines for testing.


If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and have not been in close contact with someone known to have a COVID-19 infection:

You do not need a test.
A negative test does not mean you will not contract an infection at a later time.
If you decide to be tested, you should self-isolate at home until your test results are known, and then adhere to your health care provider’s advice. This does not apply to routine screening or surveillance testing at work, school, or similar situations.

The link to the entire page is [www.cdc.gov]

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
Get an antibody test. If you have insurance, it should be covered, but check first. If you don't have insurance, search online for places that administer the test free. They are available. For the test, you make an appointment at a doctor's office, not wait in a line with others at a testing site. There has supposedly only been one verified case of someone who was reinfected with COVID-19 (different strain). You may very well have had it and developed the antibodies that will offer protection and peace of mind.
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