Sometimes, It’s Good to be Negative

As part of my University’s plan for re-opening this semester, all students, faculty, and staff are required to be tested for COVID-19 before the start of the semester. The cost of the test is generously paid for by the University.

I ordered my testing kit online on Thursday, July 30, and it arrived at my house on Tuesday, August 4. The Quest Diagnostics kit includes easy to follow instructions on how to complete the self-test, as well as a link to an online video from the lab that offered a visual explanation of how to perform the nasal swab test. Fortunately, this test only required the user to insert the swab about one-inch into the nose, which seems much less painful than the tests I have seen on TV where it seemed like it was going about six inches inside the person’s nose.

I completed the test and dropped it off at the closest FedEx location that same day. Three days later,  Friday, August 7, I received an email saying my results were available.

I clicked on the link and received the good news that I had tested negative for COVID-19, which is was what I expected.

I was impressed by how easy and timely the whole process was.

From the time I ordered the test and received the result, it was a total of eight days. And I only had to leave my house once, for the two-minute drive to the local FedEx. (There was an option to schedule a FedEx pickup if I did not want to leave the house.)

But I was also puzzled by how fast I received my results. We’ve all heard stories about how long it is taking people to get results, sometimes more than 14 days. Such long delays make the test almost meaningless.

I am not sure why I got my results so quickly, but I am happy that I did. It is one less thing to worry about at the start of the semester.

By the way, the only scenario I could come up with for the speedy service is that someone at the lab is an avid reader of my blog, and decided to expedite the testing as a favor. ๐Ÿ˜€

*image from Quest Diagnostics

59 thoughts on “Sometimes, It’s Good to be Negative

  1. This helps alleviate some of my fears of taking the test. But I would think your positive result is only helpful for a few days, after which you might catch the virus. Thus, this kind of testing seems nearly useless to me.

    I know of three people now (one is my wife’s cousin) who filled out the paperwork to take the test, got behind a long line, then got out of line and went home, because they didn’t want to wait in a long line. Lo and behold, even though they didn’t take the test, they all got results in the mail saying they were positive. Go figure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree; some people (sorry for sounding like Trump) have suggested that such mass testing is more for show than effectiveness.

      And that is crazy about those three people – certainly makes you question not only the accuracy of the testing process but the reporting process…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wonder how many people have received positive results when they didn’t take the test, but are too afraid to speak out or complain. After all, a positive result requires 14-days of isolation, and who wants to go through that?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was thinking the same thing as Tippy Gnu. A negative result is only correct for that point in time. You would have to quarantine until school starts to maintain that, wouldn’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it at least provides a baseline indicating that at one point you are OK. but you are right, in order to guarantee that you stay COVID negative it seems like it would require total isolation… I don’t think anybody wants that…


  3. Two kids on my son’s football team came down with the virus, and he and thirty-seven others went into quarantine for two weeks. Fortunately, no one else tested positive. I know he didn’t get his results back as soon as you did. I heard a story a couple of weeks ago about how the entire football team at Rutgers was in quarantine. The NBA has come up with a 0% infection rate since they all went into the bubble in Florida.

    I’m curious how enrollment has been affected at your university. Are classes being taught in-person and online?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear your son is OK. It seems like college football has had a few breakouts. The NBA took an interesting approach; I just don’t think it’s realistic in most other situations.

      Our school will be having a 100% in-person (that’s what I will be teaching), a mix of in-person and online, and 100% online.
      Students and faculty could request to do everything online. We start in one week; it will be quite interesting to say the least; teaching with a mask on to a room full of mask-wearing students…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good luck to you, Jim. I hope you have a great school year, and I look forward to reading about your experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Our Government testing facility is taking less than 24 hours to return test results when you get tested by them. I hope this non invasive nasal swab test is accurate. From next week or so we will be able to do 90 minute on site testing of staff, if necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. it sounds like you had the ‘quick test’ which is a version that some have taken.rather than the other test, swabbing into what feels like your sinuses, which can take longer to get results from, based upon the lab and the load it is carrying. the timing in long response-time cases doesn’t really solve the problem. I took the sinus-invasive one offered by my county and heard back relatively quickly, good news either way for both of us. we have something to celebrate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Or perhaps it was someone whoโ€™d seen your blog and feared a complaint if they took too long over it? But itโ€™s good to see you adding another test to the total, to further annoy the orange idiot…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Remind me not to get on your bad side!

        But itโ€™s good to know you got the all clear. Iโ€™ve not had to be tested and hope I donโ€™t. Our whole system seems a little unreliable, so your turnaround time sounds quite good. We were supposed to have a Track and Trace system in place months ago but, as usual, the govt gave the contract to incompetents. Thereโ€™s a line doing the rounds here that if you โ€˜Trackโ€™ a government contract you can โ€˜Traceโ€™ it back to one of their mates or donors. Seems true, based on recent revelations!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations on the negative result. It seems that the time to get results varies a lot. Sports teams and politicians get them right away. Will the university do more testing during the year? This school reopening stuff is an experiment. As far as sports, I think it is disappointing that football players are being put in harm’s way for TV revenue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, John. I don’t know what the plans are beyond just getting ready for the start of school. I guess they will see what happens…

      I’m with you on the football players. It seems like they should have some say in the matter. Fingers crossed that it works, but they shouldn’t have to count on being lucky…


  8. Yes. A few mostly potential high draft picks are opting to sit out the season. Adults are failing these kids IMO. I hope it doesn’t come to it, but ADs and university presidents are waiting on widespread infections, illnesses, and maybe deaths before they do what seems to be the right thing. Like traumatic brain injuries are not enough. The virus is still spreading in society, football is not in a bubble like basketball and hockey, and football is the antithesis of social distancing. It would be interesting to know the public health advice the adults are getting. End rant. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that’s a perfect rant. I am a huge sports fan, but I have lost a little bit of my interesting big-time college sports, and these decisions hint at why. Revenue seems to have become the major objective of many sports. Give me swimming or crew any time…

      All that being said, I am a bit of a hypocrite, because I still watch college football and basketball…


      1. I will also probably watch too but not as much as I used to. Back in the day I worked at the same law firm as Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick. We were good friends at the time. If he is one of those pushing for a football season it is a little surprising.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I am glad your test was negative, Jim. Are you going back to physical teaching then? I have linked your post about the possibility of teachers being replaced by AI in my Wednesday post on Writing to be Read for Raising Bookworms.


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