We cruised around for a couple hours on Friday, my daughter and I, searching for a likely spot to get no-hassle coronavirus tests. We didn’t qualify for the free ones at CVS — no symptoms, and we’ve been living like mole rats with very little opportunity for exposure to anyone who’s sick. And we got turned away at the Cone Health facility on Green Valley Road, just an hour after they opened for the day, due to overwhelming demand.
“Maybe try back after 2,” the guy posted at the entrance said.
That would not do. We couldn’t risk waiting until the afternoon for a maybe.
Against CDC guidelines, despite a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases and with a carefully calculated risk-reward equation, we will be traveling this Thanksgiving — not by plane or other public means of conveyance, and not even, really by choice. It’s been a season of medical emergencies in our family, not due to COVID-19 but consequential enough to warrant a small, in-person holiday with coronavirus rules in effect: eight people from three households, with outdoor gathering areas, daily temperature checks and a recent negative test result from everyone.
Hence our Friday cruise through town.
My daughter and I share a healthy respect for the coronavirus. We spend our weekdays boxed in the house, avoiding contact with the invisible enemy and the unknown thousands who carry it. We decline invitations from friends and avoid most trips away from the house. We stopped going out to lunch; we have the delivery folks leave the food on the front porch and go get it after they drive away. This was our first time out together in weeks.
We found a doc-in-a-box that would do it, but for that we would need to fill out lengthy online forms before being approved for an appointment. We could have driven to Burlington, or Reidsville, or Winston-Salem, each with its own aggravating circumstance. And anyway, all of them faced increased on-site demand and bottlenecks in testing results. We might — might — get our results back in five days.
So screw it. We went to Triad Behavioral Resources off Spring Garden Street, where rapid tests took 15 minutes and cost $125 apiece. Too much lag in turnaround time, they said, to bother with the standard tests.
Now we both know for sure we’re coronavirus free, for now. And we know how to keep it that way.