Flat White

Why does getting a Covid test in NSW feel like winning the lottery?

9 January 2022

12:00 PM

9 January 2022

12:00 PM

The odds of winning the lottery are, well, like winning the lottery… Your chances are bleak, but you put your hopes, your dreams, and your hard-earned income on the line only to lose everything. All those future aspirations you hoped to achieve – gone.

Now, what happens when you’re lucky enough to win the lottery (albeit only $8), but not lucky enough to get into a Covid testing clinic?

The process certainly has an element of ‘luck’. Imagine your mother, father, Covid-positive partner (according to a rapid antigen test), and your asthmatic self are waiting in line for two hours before the drive-in clinic is open.

Finally, the group is ushered forward only to be told, ‘We’re only testing 300 cars, so enter at your own risk.’ You ask if 300 cars have already gone in and are assured, ‘No.’

Then, you receive a Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology form to fill out (paper forms in this decade, really?), wait another four hours, idly notice that there’s a man on a pushbike in the blistering sun waiting beside the car (he’s become the mascot for the entire queue, nay, the entirety of Liverpool), and eventually become the second car to be turned away.

Evidently, someone can’t count.

Why do the odds of scoring a spot in a Covid testing clinic queue feel the same as winning the lottery (a prize coveted almost equally)?

Knowing someone who ‘knows someone’ that can get you a rapid antigen test has become as sought after as a person who can get you in the same room as Tom Hanks.

After the first failed attempt, it is time for us to gamble on going to a bigger testing clinic further away that may accommodate us. In doing so, we risk running out of petrol on the way over, which we cannot replenish because we must isolate. We could go to a closer clinic but they may turn us away because, according to their track record, that’s just what they do…

Us queuing fools should not have to win a ‘Covid test jackpot’ when we just want to do the right thing by obeying the confusing public health orders put in place. However, we can’t do that when there are either zero testing clinics, or clinics that turn us away after six hours because we didn’t arrive five minutes earlier or someone further up the queue foolishly let a car cut in.

There need to be proper measures put in place so people aren’t left waiting all day in line without getting a test.

Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology: if you weren’t going to test us, why did you give each of us in the line a form to complete? If you had a specific quota you had to meet to get paid for this handsome government contract, why didn’t you number the forms you gave out and cut it off at a particular number? Why did you make so many of us wait in our cars (we were the fortunate ones who had cars) when you knew you wouldn’t test us? Why didn’t you let us know earlier? And why did you turn three testing lanes into one when there were three there two weeks ago?

The moral of the story is that I won the lottery, but could not get into a testing clinic.

Forget the $60 Million Powerball. Tomorrow, I’m going to win myself a Covid test.

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