Covid test

a report on how I got tested for covid in Berlin

Let me write a report on how a covid test is done in Berlin. Maybe it can be useful if you're awaiting a test. Or as a historic record. Anyway, there is no moral to the story.

It happened more than a week ago, but I didn't have time to repnort, because I've been enjoying life.

  1. I found out I had met a friend who had covid, so I called the Berlin-Neuk├Âlln corona hotline and was ordered into a quarantine. I asked for a test but if I hand't, I wouldn't get one.

  2. A person from a test centre called me back the next work day and made an appointment with me for a precise time (like 8:35). I was only allowed to use a car or a bike to get there, no public transport. So bike it was.

  3. The centre had been established in the grounds of a district office, in an outdoors space that had probably been used as a parking lot before. There was a single person queuing by the gate. Obligatory distancing marks were painted on the sidewalk.

  4. I was assigned an id number and went to the testing facility itself, which was built in a standard metal shipping container. It had two doors, one for the doctor and another one for the patient. Inside, the container was divided in two halves by an acrylic glass.

  5. The doctor handed me the test (stick with cotton wool in a tube) through a slot in the glass. Then she instructed me (with the help of a chart with nice illustrations) how I must wipe my throat and nose with the stick. When I was done, I returned the test through the slot.

  6. The doctor told me I was brave. I told her she was very nice. She told me I was very nice too. I wanted to add that if we can't stay nice to each other, then it makes no sense to save humanity, but I didn't find the right words in German.

  7. To check the results, I went to the web of the test centre (which is just one page under the official site of the city). There, a PDF is published once a day with the results from the previous day, very low-tech, it's just id numbers and positive/negative. Mine was negative.

Jakub Valenta

September 25, 2020