I returned with my wife by air from Florida, coughing a bit and feeling unwell and having sat next to an oriental gentleman who boarded the plane wearing an elaborate mask – then took it off ( I have no evidence that he was sick, but it spooked me nonetheless).
Two days later I was due to attend physical therapy at the local hospital. On entering the hospital I was greeted by a member of staff. Spontaneously, without thinking (but feeling weak, disoriented and generally lousy) I asked whether the hospital was now testing for the corona virus. Better safe than sorry, I thought, but realizing It could be a total red herring. The staff member personally accompanied me to the appropriate department, where I was seen by a doctor ten minutes later.
After about 15 minutes a nurse then came in and inserted a probe up my nostrils as far as it would go, twice. I was very painful and unexpected. She told me she needed samples, one for pneumonia and influenza (results almost immediate), and the second for the corona virus. The nurse told me that everyone cried out – the quick procedure is very uncomfortable.
Later that afternoon the doctor herself phoned me at home to say I was clear of pneumonia and flu, and was to return home and self- pisolate as if I actually had the virus.
That was this on Tuesday. Yesterday, Thursday, the doctor phoned to say I had no sign of the corona virus.
I tell this story just so that you know how the medics proceed, but also to praise the amazing, polite, quick and efficient service. Part of the quick response was probably owing to my age, but I am still quietly astonished, given all the adverse commentary. The national system might freaky, but in this case I cannot praise the system enough.