COVID-19 testing at Lake Tahoe Community College is free through at least July. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

I’m not a big fan of doing anything involving the medical profession. It’s a short, boring story dating back to when I was a kid having to get weekly allergy shots. Come to find out what ailed me was migraines. I share this because I willingly got a COVID-19 test at the end of June and assume I will do so again.

Why? The question should really be, why not? Free tests are available at Lake Tahoe Community College in South Lake Tahoe through at least July. Nevada residents at the lake and people in Alpine County can get tested there as well. Results are recorded with the person’s respective county no matter the testing location. Where the state has not set up free tests people can get them through their local health care system. Do it, then do it again, and again. A negative result is only for that moment in time.

The San Francisco Chronicle on July 1 reported how Harvard scientists say California needs to double its testing to contain the coronavirus. Nineteen counties (not El Dorado or Placer) are starting to shut down again because of a surge in cases. While the Lake Tahoe-Truckee region is bustling with activity like it’s a normal Fourth of July weekend, it’s anyone’s guess what the numbers locally will be when the out-of-towners go home. Are workers going to be infected from tourists and then spread it to their families and friends? Will visitors take the virus back to their hometowns, first spreading it to passengers in their vehicles and people they were lodging with?

The uncertainties provide more reasons to get tested after you have been vacationing. You just don’t know who has what, or if you are the carrier. Being in contact with so many strangers is a good reason for locals to get tested, too. That long swab up my nose was no big deal. It didn’t hurt. It wasn’t all that uncomfortable. I was in and out of the college gym in a matter of minutes.

With more people getting tested it took a full week for me to receive my results. Negative! I had some dizziness and achy muscles, things on the list of possible symptoms for the virus. Now I need to figure out what caused those ailments; or maybe I’ll just keep living with them since I’m not big on the whole medical thing.

With the spread of COVID-19 now being in communities and so many people being asymptomatic, it’s a smart idea to periodically get tested if one is leaving their home. I’m leaving home. Even though I’m pretty good about the 6-foot rule while playing tennis as well as using sanitizer, I’m guessing in doubles there are times I’m closer to my partner than I realize. Plus, who really knows what others are doing off the court. I’m hiking, but mostly with the person I’m living with. When there are others, we are 6 feet apart. Hiking with poles helps with separation. I’m masked up at the grocery store and post office—the two indoor venues I frequent the most.

I love that the governors of California and Nevada now mandate masks be worn indoors and at times outdoors. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t love wearing a mask. The longest I had to wear one was when I recently got my hair cut. Brooke had it worse. She had to wear it all day. I got to take mine off as soon as I left the shop.

A vaccine will help, though even if everyone were to take it, it won’t be a 100 percent guarantee. No vaccine is. “The best we’ve ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “That would be wonderful if we get there. I don’t think we will. I would settle for (a) 70, 75 percent effective vaccine.”

For those more worried about the economy than public health read this Washington Post story about how if there were a national mask mandate, it could save 5 percent of the gross domestic product.

Until the health crisis is over, the financial crisis won’t be solved. Governments can only do so much. It is each individual who has to be involved in fighting this virus. Wear a mask. Get tested. Be 6 feet from others.

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