How the COVID-19 Testing Process Works

Ella Massey

Walking through the COVID-19 testing can be scary. It helps to know what the exact process will be.

First, you have to get an appointment. Getting an appointment means less time waiting at the testing facility and less time waiting for your actual test. To get an appointment, go to the UMC website and register for a COVID-19 test under whichever option most closely describes you. Depending on what day and what area you live in, the testing sites may differ. Cashman Center is open from Tuesday through Saturday  at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thomas and Mack Center is open from Monday  through Sunday at 8 a.m to 4 p.m. These times and days may vary over the coming weeks, so make sure to check dates and times. More testing sites exist across the valley, but Cashman and Thomas and Mack are the largest and most permanent options.

There are a few things you need to bring for a walk-in and an appointment. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to be tested. An ID and a mask covering the mouth and nose are also required.

After checking that you have all of the necessary items, go to your chosen testing site fifteen minutes early. If doing a walk-in, arrive as early as possible. The wait is very long, and the closer to closing, the longer the line gets. Once near the front, one of the workers will take IDs and check everyone in. The workers also give everyone a sticker for their vial.

After the worker gets the appointments set and creates an account with the UMC to provide you with your results, they put two to three people in lines for the test. The staff clean the tables before and after each person.

The actual procedure works like this: After you are sanitized, you are provided with a test kit, which has a brush inside. You will break the bottom half off and throw it away. While your mask remains on to cover your mouth, you will push the brush as far into your nose without it hurting, spinning the brush for fifteen seconds in each nostril. Once you are finished, the brush will then be put into a pink liquid. Put a cap back onto the vial and place it in the middle of the table with your sticker. Then you are done.

At the exit for the testing site, there is a booth for test results information. They take one to three days. Negative means no COVID-19 was detected, and positive indicates COVID-19 was detected.

The test might sound scary or difficult, but it is actually very easy and takes an hour maximum if you have an appointment.