By Richard Sternberg, M.D.
This morning (Monday, January 3), I was tested for COVID-19. The process was easy, quick, not particularly uncomfortable, and easy to schedule. While I would’ve preferred a rapid test to know whether or not I’m currently infected, I can wait a day or two for the PCR test — which was the one available — and still be diagnosed within five days of the onset of symptoms as recommended by the Center for Disease Control.
When I woke up Sunday morning I had a slight cough, some congestion (which I frequently have because of allergies) and a scratchy throat. Normally I would’ve gargled and thought nothing of it, but we live in interesting times. Because I had minor symptoms, I knew I should get a test as soon as possible.
I looked online for a testing appointment. but could find nothing for Sunday within 25 miles of Cooperstown, nor could I find any for Cooperstown (where I live) until this coming Thursday except for the state’s new facility opened last week in Milford. While they offer only online scheduling at this time, I was able to make an appointment for 10:20 that morning.
The facility is in the American Legion Post hall at 86 West Main Street in Milford, one half-block west
of the traffic light, on the left side of the road. The testing site operates Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon.
As reported in last week’s paper, New York expects to add rapid testing options at the Milford location so that if positive, treatment can begin more quickly; if negative, quarantine may end.
The process couldn’t have been easier. I parked behind the Milford American Legion Post, was able to
get in using the handicap-accessible ramp, and entered the reception room. There were two desks to sign in, and no waiting. Because my glasses fogged over from wearing the mask I took them off and then wasn’t able to read the registration form. The clerk couldn’t have been nicer helping me. This took about two minutes. There were four testing stations, so there was no waiting. The nurse was very pleasant and put me at ease by just having casual conversation. Frankly when she performed the testing, taking the nasal swabbing, it was the easiest of the approximately 10 times I’ve been tested since the pandemic began two years ago. To check out I just walked out the door. I think the whole process took 10 minutes from parking to leaving.
I have very close friends who had COVID in the last couple of weeks. Luckily, none of them were very sick, though one is still having symptoms a week after onset. In two cases, I had to argue with my friends that they needed to be tested and that their symptoms, until proven otherwise, indicated that they had COVID. They felt that they weren’t sick enough and said it even though they know that a large percentage of people are asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic.
To some extent they really didn’t want to know, something I feel is common to many people both vaccinated and unvaccinated.
January 3 saw the CDC report 400,000 new cases, 100,000 people hospitalized, and 1,400 deaths. Airlines in the United States cancelled 2,100 flights — mostly because of lack of crews due to COVID.
Extensive testing with rapid results will allow us to reach a maximally productive new normal as soon as possible.
If you have any illness, since COVID symptoms can be almost anything, have been in contact with a person with a known case of COVID, or are planning a trip, get tested. It’s easy, free, and it will allow you to safely be more active sooner.
Make your appointment for the Milford site at https://appointments.bioreference.com/nystatecovidtesting.