Published November 27, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

What would you do if you were found by a contact tracer and told to report to the local epidemiology and surveillance unit because you’re suspected of having been exposed to a COVID-positive person? A panic attack might have ensued for Greg had he not stopped to think there was a 50-50 chance of negative beating out the positive. On the other hand, he had reason to feel guilty, having gone to three malls in three days.

This is how it went.

Step one. A text message sent on Nov. 16 to his phone informed him that between 9:30 and 11 a.m. Nov. 13 he was at XXX food place at a mall in Quezon City. True? Then he should take a swab test (free).

Two. Greg was told to fill up a registration form online which asked if he was experiencing any symptoms. The form ended with the question, “When do you want to be tested?”

Three. Choosing Nov. 18 between 9 and 11 a.m., he was told to report to Amoranto Stadium for the test. “Bring your ID and vaccination card.”

Four. Date and time confirmed, Greg showed up for the tests, antigen and RT-PCR. The antigen result came out after 10 minutes, negative. But the PCR result would have to wait three to five days, during which time he would have to self-quarantine at home.

“This was the part that freaked out my mom!” Greg recalled. “It meant me staying home, isolated in my room – good thing I have my own bathroom – for three to five days without knowing if I have or don’t have COVID, all the time the other people at home would be avoiding me like the plague.”

Fortunately for Greg, his mother had heard of a private laboratory where PCR test results were known to be available “within the day.” True enough, she found the phone number of the preeminent Dr. Sammy Ang, who told her to send Greg to New World Diagnostics at 33 Meralco Ave., a “blue building in front of Estancia.”

True enough, the test was over in a few minutes in an office Greg said was “five-star quality.” He went home to await the results. At dinnertime the news arrived on his computer: negative.

Negative is good.