By Austin Ferguson
Three days had passed since Oct. 23, but the results had yet to be returned.
After signing up for Rider’s new surveillance testing program, getting my testing date postponed and taking the test 10 days later, the last thing I was hoping for was a delay in getting my results.
I was more than willing to wait the 72 hours originally said for processing, as I understand that analysis is far from instant. It also helped that I was home that weekend, surrounded by family to pass the time.
As the weekend went on and the three-day wait was coming to pass, my apprehensions about my results began to rise. Was I going to test positive?
I did not notice any symptoms and had been pretty safe in following standard protocols. I wore a mask, practiced social distancing and limited my contact with others. Despite all of that, COVID-19 may have beaten the odds to get a hold of me.
The fourth day after my test, Oct. 27, came. It was my 22nd birthday, so my annual reflection on where I am in life and where I could be going preoccupied me and kept the worry of my surveillance at bay. Without a result, I finished an article for The Rider News in a way that I had never had to end a story before — with a cliffhanger.
On the morning of Oct. 28, there was still no result from my COVID-19 test, or so I thought. That morning, I received an email from Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Planning and Secretary to the Board Debbie Stasolla concerning the results of my surveillance test.
I was first commended by Stasolla for volunteering for testing and writing about my experience, which gave me a sense of duty and accomplishment. After that, she revealed that the Health Center received word on all of the results on the morning of Oct. 27. It had turned out that my birthday wasn’t the only thing to celebrate on that Tuesday.
“Everyone who tested on October 23 was negative,” Stasolla wrote to me. I initially let go a sigh of relief.
Shortly after, another quandary popped into my head: How did this happen? Did everyone else get their results? If not, why is the lab or the university trying to hide its results? If the other testers got their results, why didn’t I? Was my test actually negative?
With the seed of doubt planted that I may not have been out of the woods yet, my imagination began to run wild over what could have happened to my surveillance test. In my head, my detective hat was on and I was ready to investigate.
Unfortunately for my creative scenarios, there was not much I could do in the way of figuring out myself, so I decided to wait a few days for the lab to reach out about my test.
Less than 24 hours later, the lab who had received and analyzed my test sent an email.
The subject of the email read, “Important Notification: COVID-19 Results.” Again, my heart began to sink. If the notification was that important, I was almost certain I had received a positive test. I hovered over the “View Test Results” button, afraid of what was behind the virtual door.
Once I was redirected to the results page, I first noticed the location of the lab. It was in Piscataway, New Jersey, the place I called home. That piece of information put a small smile on my face knowing that, by coincidence, as I traveled to Piscataway, so did my COVID-19 test. As I returned to Rider’s campus, so did my results.
With that in mind, I scrolled through and found the grail of information that plagued me (no pun intended) for the last two weeks.
“RESULT: NOT DETECTED.”
After a roller coaster two weeks, I could finally, as best as I could in a global pandemic, carry on as normal.