What's your role at Sterling Cross?
‘I’m a Joint Company Owner at Sterling Cross’
Why did you get referred for a test?
‘My daughter had recently started working as a Community Care Worker and had been in contact with a patient diagnosed with COVID-19. She was subsequently advised to apply for a test and was allowed to take 3 family members along to also be tested. We decided as a family that with us living together we would all be tested. No one in the household was experiencing any symptoms but better safe than sorry. Also, as my daughter was quite young and was anxious about the test, we thought it would help her mentally and feel reassured by going along. All in it together’.
How did you get referred?
What was the experience like?
‘The day of the test! We left together at 1.15 pm arriving 10 minutes early and were surprised to see no queue. We didn’t have to wait for our allocated time and were directed to a military manned check in desk. At this point a sign was shown to us with the instruction to call a mobile telephone number. With the number dialled, we were then talking directly to the soldier. He very politely asked us to show him our QR codes through the window of the car for log in purposes and would then issue with our individual test packs and at this point to wind down the windows individually so we could take receipt. He also told us that at any point during the test we experienced any problems to put the hazard lights on and or sound the horn and someone would come to us. We were then asked to drive to check point two where the same process of phoning the next soldier was required. He proceeded to explain how to perform the test yourself, which was great news as we were all a little apprehensive that someone would need to do it for us and it may be uncomfortable!’.
‘The test was easy- we were asked to drive to a particular area and park the car. Take out the swab and rub along the back of the mouth each side for about 15 seconds. This was somewhat funny as the body’s natural reaction was to gag but once you get used to the sensation it was fine. Although, we did have a good laugh at each other! Next, using the same swab time for the nose. We were told to push the swab slowly up the nostril until you feel some pressure and wiggle around for about 10 seconds. We all wanted to sneeze but controlled ourselves. No problem if you did, but perhaps could have been unsightly. Once finished, we were asked to place the swab in a test tube, affix a bar code (supplied) to the test tube and place in a plastic seal bag. Again, we also were required to affix a bar code to the bag and then place in a biohazard collection vesicle, but at this point we didn’t seal the bag’.
‘Then, we were instructed to drive to check point 3. Again, we were asked to call the mobile number to speak to the soldier. Basically, he makes sure that you have the bar codes properly affixed and whether you had any problems with the test. He then asks you to seal the biohazard bag and to wind down the windows to hand over the test. He explained that the results would be sent to us via e mail and text message within 48hrs and we were wished on our way. How easy was that?! Clear instructions, process took no more than 15 minutes for 4 tests and we were back home within an hour of arriving! Actually, we had a bit of a laugh while doing the tests and shared some good humour with the soldiers. We were told to expect the results within 48 hrs from Saturday’.
How long did it take for the results to come? how long was the process?
‘Ping! The results were sent to our mobiles and e mail accounts Sunday afternoon! How do they do it so quickly, I thought. We all tested negative which I guess wasn’t a shock as none of us had symptoms - but good to know none the less!’.
Do you feel reassured?
‘We all felt reassured - In particular my daughter who would be coming into contact with seriously ill patients. Even with PPE it felt reassuring to know that she wouldn’t be taking COVID-19 into a patient’s environment’.
Do you feel safer, or are you holding out until you have had an antibody test?
‘Whilst the test is easy and useful and reassuring the test will determine whether you have the virus currently. It won’t tell you whether you have already had it and obviously your exposure going forward could change on a daily basis. Just because you have had the test- don’t think you can relax your social distancing. If anything, it is like having a clean slate so it makes sense to keep it that way. If they can offer the antibody test with the same efficiency, I feel greatly reassured that we will be able to come out of this sooner rather than later. I was proud that the combination of process/test/results couldn’t have been simpler and felt the experience was made all the better with the great British humour offered by the testers which was designed to relax and make you feel comfortable!’.