My phone rang with the dreaded news that I had recently been in close contact with someone who was asymptomatic but tested positive for COVID-19. Even though I was not experiencing any symptoms such as a cough, fever, or loss of smell, I knew I should get tested. Fortunately, the City of Coronado recently opened a covid testing site at the Coronado Club Room & Boathouse, with testing available on Monday and Thursday mornings. This covid testing center is run by Kahala Biosciences, an Orange County company that also runs a covid testing site for the Chula Vista Elementary School District.
This past July, I had a covid test at a drive-thru clinic in a parking lot in downtown San Diego that included long waits and insurance complications. My recent Coronado covid test experience was very different and much improved.
In order to minimize my time at the testing site I made an appointment online through the City of Coronado website link: https://www.coronado.ca.us/government/departments_divisions/fire_services/covidtesting.
Walk-in testing is available based on availability, but waits can be longer during the morning rush so walk-ins are recommended to arrive after 10am. The appointment website, hosted on the Kahala Biosciences website, required the typical name, birthday, social security number, and address information, but I also needed to upload a picture of my government ID (drivers license, passport, etc.) and insurance information. Kahala coordinates directly with insurance, so I didn’t have to make any payment or submit any paperwork to my private health insurance. Patients without insurance may have the cost of their test covered by the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration as part of the CARES act.
The appointment scheduling website allowed me to select my preferred day and time for my test. Monday and Thursday appointments are available in 15 minute increments between 9 am and 12:45 pm. Almost all the time slots were available on my preferred date, so I was able to book my first choice appointment time.
I was also asked to select from three test options: viral test, antigen test, and antibody test, which have different payment options and timing for results. For the greatest reliability, I chose the viral test for an active COVID-19 infection; for this one I would receive an email with results in three to four business days.
After submitting the required information online, I immediately received an email from Kahala with the subject “Coronado Community Testing.” The email confirmed my appointment date and time and the testing center location at 1985 Strand Way.
After several days of quarantine at home, I masked up for my appointment. I arrived a few minutes before my scheduled appointment, and found plenty of parking at the Boathouse and only a few people at the testing site. All stations were set up outside and under tents on the sidewalk in front of the Boathouse, while also spaced at least six feet apart.
Walking up to the testing site, I was greeted by a City of Coronado employee who gave me a new City of Coronado face mask. I was directed to one of three check-in tables where an employee behind a plastic shield asked for my government issued ID and health insurance card. After a few minutes, I was directed to a second table to pick up a basket with my testing supplies. Both stations took less than three minutes to complete.
At this point, I was directed to the back of the Boathouse where additional tents and tables were set up for testing. The licensed medical practitioner at the first table directed me to a chair at her testing station where I could enjoy the view of the bay and Coronado bridge. Luckily, the view provided some distraction from the discomfort of the test. The nurse informed me she would swab each nostril for five seconds: which is fast but still unpleasant. My eyes watered and my nose itched, but I was thankful it was a less invasive test than my previous one and was over quickly.
Once both nostrils were swabbed, I was done! I was told my test results would be emailed to me in three to five days. I thanked the worker and headed out to the parking lot to drive home. In total, I had been at the testing site for less than six minutes and was back home in time to continue my online classes at Coronado High School without delay.
Approximately 48 hours later, I received two emails from Kahala Biosciences titled “Viral Test Results.” The first email provided an eight digit password that I would need to access my encrypted test results in the second email. I nervously opened the second email’s attached PDF document with my test results, and was relieved to see the “negative” result. Following precautions, I will continue to quarantine at home for a total of ten days after the initial exposure.
My experience at the Coronado COVID-19 testing site was easy and efficient. If I need to get tested again, I would definitely return to the Coronado site.
To schedule an appointment at the Coronado COVID-19 Testing Site, visit the city’s website here: www.coronado.ca.us/government/departments_divisions/fire_services/covidtesting