The process of getting tested for COVID-19 in Indiana is now a moderately simple one. In fact, I did it during my lunch break Wednesday.
Indiana made the move to partner with federal health services business OptumServe, which provides COVID-19 testing in certain states. Hoosiers can either go through the Indiana State Department of Health website to secure a testing time, or find an independent testing center like CVS.
My first step to getting tested was figuring out where my closest testing site was. The Lafayette CVS near Sagamore Parkway is one of the local options. That’s where I got tested Wednesday morning, but one of my co-workers went through the state’s website to be tested at an Optum location, a church in Lafayette, on Tuesday. She registered for an appointment in the afternoon and was tested at 7:30 p.m. that day.
My co-worker, Alex Weliever, had to take a survey that asked whether she had experienced any symptoms or interacted with a person who had tested positive for COVID-19 in the past. Though she hadn’t, she was allowed to sign up for an appointment later that day.
I took a similar brief survey to set up my appointment, and qualified for an appointment because of a small cough I had been experiencing recently. The survey asks things such as what symptoms you have, if any, and if you are in a higher risk category, like being asthmatic or having a compromised immune system. Upon completion of the online quiz, the CVS survey will tell you whether or not you qualify for free testing.
If you do qualify, you can proceed to make the appointment, and in my case, I could schedule testing in just 30 minutes after I took the online assessment. Once you choose an appointment time you fill out all your personal information including your medical insurance and car information for the drive-thru testing site. My co-worker checked into a testing center at a Lafayette church, and had to walk into the building to be tested.
About 10 minutes after completing the online sign-up process and getting a confirmation email, I received a phone call from an associate at CVS who proceeded to double check all my information to ensure an efficient testing appointment when I arrived.
CVS also sent me a link right away to set up the online portal through MyChart, where I would be able to receive my test results in two to four days.
To my surprise, when I arrived for my testing, I was the only one there. There was no line, and I was able to pull right up to the window at 11 a.m.
I arrived, gave them my personal information again to confirm my identity and was handed two bags. One of them was a plastic bag containing a nose swab and a vial, along with instructions on how to use it. The other one, a brown paper bag, had information summarizing the appointment and where to find my test results later.
The nurse inside of the CVS drive-thru instructed me when to take off my mask, open the bag with the swab and the vial. She told me to go ahead and take out the nose swab. The nurse guided me through sticking the swab as far as I could before feeling resistance in my nose, where I then had to swirl the swab around and hold it there for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
The process wasn’t painful, and for me it only made me sneeze a couple times. After I swabbed my nose, she instructed me to open the vial in the plastic bag, which contained a liquid that I put the swab into. I sealed it.
She told me I could seal all the contents of the plastic bag up, and pull my car a few feet forward to drop the whole bag into a special drop-box. In the brown paper bag there was a cleaning wipe to clean off anything I had touched outside of my car.
My sample was then off to get tested, and I was all done. The whole process from arrival to completion was a mere five minutes, and I’m supposed to find out my results in just a few days on the MyChart app.
For Weliever, the testing process itself was only a little bit different. She had to enter a the testing site wearing a mask, and check in with personnel behind a plastic sheet. She didn’t see anyone else getting tested Tuesday night, though the woman who tested her mentioned that the day had been fairly busy, and my coworker was the 116th person to be tested that day.
The testing at the church also involved a nasal swab, which my co-worker agreed wasn’t painful so much as a little uncomfortable. Weliever was given a paper validating the fact that she had been tested, was instructed to visit the Optum website to receive her results in two to three days and was sent on her way.