The number of Covid cases that Tamil Nadu registered that day flashed before my eyes right after my first sneeze. My anxiety levels shot up after my sister and I started developing symptoms of the infection, so we decided to get tested at a primary healthcare centre in Ambattur.
It was about midday when we reached the centre, the first thing that ticked us off was the lack of a sanitizer bottle at the entrance. Seconds later, we were shocked to see that no one was being socially distant, including the staff. People who were there to get themselves tested were mingling with others who had come to get vaccinated. Lack of proper crowd control and guidance was obvious. But the worst was yet to come.
The contractual healthcare workers who entered patients’ details in the registration forms were working without wearing masks properly and without gloves, with their PPE kits put on the side. The staff also exchanged stationery like pens with the patients who had Covid symptoms without sanitizing them.
After registering ourselves, we were given a collectable and were asked to hand it over to the healthcare worker who collects the swabs.
At that point, I was more afraid of the swab collection procedure than contracting the virus because I had heard how uncomfortable and even painful, the procedure can get. But, when I was being swabbed, I hardly feel the touch. In fact, I felt that the swab sample was being collected from my tongue and not the throat. Surprised, when I asked others around me about their experience, they too claimed that they hardly felt anything while the sample was being collected.
The healthcare workers then told us that we would get a phone call if we tested positive, and a message if the results were negative.
Hours later, we received a confirmation SMS about the collection of our swab, but even though my sister and I had registered our phone numbers, she received the details on both our samples. It made me wonder what would have happened had my sample details were sent to someone else’s phone number other than my sister.
When we opened the sample reference form, we were taken aback to see a series of incorrect information. My name was misspelt. I am 31, but they marked me as 81 even though I had given them my Aadhaar card so that they could take down the name and age properly. This could be attributed to the fact that the details were being taken down by the staff at the primary healthcare centre by hand.
Moreover, although my sister and I exhibited symptoms of Covid like high fever, headache, cold, sore throat and body pain, we got categorised as “asymptomatic”.
The experience was so disheartening that we could not trust the results and had to get tested again.
Have you faced any similar experience at any centre? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org