BY MARCY SHORTUSE- I wish I would report in this week and tell you that our questions have been answered about our situation with the COVID-19 testing, but I cannot. Between our house and our friends’ house that we spoke of last week, everyone is relatively well but one, but the struggle is real when it comes to having good luck with the testing. It has been an exercise in frustration, to say the least.
When I signed off in this space last week, some of us were awaiting test results, some were waiting for their second set of test results, and some of us had not yet been tested. Since then, I can tell you that almost everyone from both households tested negative, with the exception of the young one in the other household who tested positive, and my daughter (the youngest of my five). My daughter’s test results were lost, but she is well. We can assume that she is probably negative because everyone else in the house has tested negative … but who knows.
A funny thing happened with my twins’ results. They had been staying with the grandfather since that Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend, and when we found out the neighbor was positive, and my youngest and I were sick, we kept them there to quarantine. They went with their brother and grandfather to University Town Center in Sarasota to get tested, as most of the testing sites around only test people 18 years old and older.
A few days ago I received a text that one of the twins’ results were available, and I could set up an account in their name to retrieve them. I did so, and she was negative. To be preemptive I also set one up for her brother, and found his test results were also negative. Grandfather was negative as well. When I went to set up the second twins’ account, the computer told me I already had an account with that last name, date of birth and zip code. It was, of course, Rory’s account. Twins have this weird thing where they have the same birthday and last name, you know.
I called Bio iQ, the lab that performed the testing. They admitted this was a glitch in the system, and while they could tell me over the phone that the second twin tested negative, I wouldn’t get her official results in writing until they came in the mail … seven to 10 days later. When I called the school they told me they needed the proof of the results, which means my twins have been out of school this whole time. Yesterday I was able to call the Charlotte County Health Department and get the second twins’ results, which have been emailed to the school. I am hoping they can go back soon.
Having this lot of negative test results would be reassuring with the exception of one problem – the older girl next door is still sick. It has been a very long time, and she is still sporadically spiking a fever, and she really feels lousy. She has been tested four times now, and all tests have come back negative. Her strep test was negative, her flu test was negative.
While our lives are continuing on, with the hope that our friend’s child next door improves soon, we are left with the uneasy feeling that this scenario is playing out in households across the country – where one test is positive and everyone else is negative, but there is still sickness involved – how many people are walking around with a false sense of security that their COVID test was negative, but they are actually positive? Or, quite possibly, that their test was positive but they are actually negative?
I am also concerned that test results for children under the age of 18 might be falling through the cracks. My youngest daughter’s test results were lost along with five other children’s results, and all were tested that day. All were children.
Until we have a better testing method, what we have learned from this is to STAY HOME if you are sick. Treat it as you would treat the flu: Wait for symptoms to disappear, wait two or three days, then continue on with life. We need to return to that mindset anyway, COVID has taught us that. It is inconvenient, it can be costly, but overall it is worth it. I hope when COVID fears go away (let’s hope they do!) we remember this time, and respect others enough to keep whatever contagious illness we have within our household, until it abates.
In the meantime, know that if you are going to be tested for COVID at a drive-through facility where they have nasal swabs you perform on yourself, that stick needs to go up your nose so far it hurts, or you’re not doing it right. Wait a few days after exposure – preferably five days – before getting tested, for the most accurate results you can get. Good luck.
Marcy Shortuse is the editor of the Boca Beacon. She can be reached at