It’s a cool May morning in Mojave with only a slight breeze. Outside the Mojave Veterans building, I am one of eight in line, waiting to be tested for the corona virus. Patients are let in one at a time, the rest outside, maintaining social distancing, overseen by a uniformed private security officer.Signups were done through a web portal where some basic health questions are answered. Allowed to select a testing location, the appointment is made. Appointments are given in one hour blocks, I selected 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
You are instructed to bring patient ID number with you at time of appointment as well as a photo ID.
About every 10 minutes another person is greeted at the door and led into testing.
As a diabetic, I am considered an at risk group. Some symptoms of possible infection are similar to cold, flu or allergies. As well as difficulty breathing, body aches and tiredness – many of which I also seem to have, in one form or another. As an essential worker, I am also out in public quite a bit, where I could come into contact with infected persons.
While waiting, other patients kept busy with their phones. There was very little small talk while waiting, no doubt in part due to the social distancing and the phones. All in line were wearing face masks, some also wearing gloves.
I forgot my to bring my earbuds, so I write instead of listening to music. As the sun rises in front of our line to shine directly into our faces, I’m glad I wore my baseball cap.
At 7:45, the next group of appointment holders begin arriving. There are still four of us from first group waiting.
At the door, you are greeted with a worker who spritzes your hands with sanitizer.
One who exits after the test calls out “never again. I never want to have to do that again.”
Just before 8 a.m. I am escorted into the building by a worker.
Inside the building, a worker in full protective gear including mask, gloves and disposable safety gown asks you to wait as the previous patient is tested. Inside the room, a clear plastic divider is set up separating the intake worker from patients. After providing you patient ID, he asks a series of question, largely confirming those answered when setting up the appointment online.
Moving to a table where you sit down as another technician explains the process and, again confirms name and date of birth. “I don’t think this is as bad a shot, but it is uncomfortable,” he says – the private company administering the tests would not allow photography inside, even though I was the only person other than their employees there at the time.
The technician opens a sealed package and pulls out what is essentially a very long cotton tip swap. As instructed, I tilt my head back and he feeds it into my left nostril.
“Well this isn’t so bad,” I’m thinking. “Wait, how deep is that thing going. Surely that must be far enough. Holy crap, he’s still going.”
When he hits what feels like the back of my brain he holds the swab there for a count of four and withdraws it, placing it in a container labeled with my patient number.
“That’s it, you’re all done, sir,” he says.
My eyes watering slightly, I exit the building and return home, it really wasn’t too bad, although extremely uncomfortable – probably would have preferred a shot, though.
The Mojave test site is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Appointments are required and can be made by visiting www.kerncounty.com/government/state-