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A patient prepares for a coronavirus test at a Family Health Centers of San Diego site in Chula Vista. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

My son had a runny nose.

Under normal circumstances, this would be a day-that-ends-in-y kind of occurrence, but in the Covid Times, it became quite an ordeal. And it taught me a little about where we are in the pandemic, as we head into a season in which people are likely to have lots of runny noses, or worse.

Under our daycare’s new policies, he couldn’t return until he’d been symptom-free for 48 hours or received a negative Covid test.

No problem, I thought, because my daycare was fortunate enough to have a relationship with a private clinic that tested teachers and children who opted in every three to four weeks. I called the clinic to arrange a test. This is where things went off the rails.

First, I was told the clinic doesn’t test anyone under 4, which was a bit strange, since they’d already tested my 2-year-old several times. When I pointed this out, they switched explanations: He couldn’t get tested because he was showing symptoms – the runny nose.

My health care provider doesn’t test people unless they’re showing serious symptoms, so that wasn’t an option.

I was pointed to the Rady collaborative, which requires registration and instructs that someone will follow up to set up an appointment within 48 hours. I filled out the registration, and a full five days have now gone by with no word on appointments or instructions.

Instead of waiting, we explored going to a county testing site. One of the info pages says no one under 12 can be tested there; another said they tested children K-12, which still doesn’t cover my toddler. We tried our luck anyway – there are only so many ways to pass the time at home with a not-sick toddler – and the good news is that all three of us received a test quickly and easily. The results came back within two days.

So, let’s assess.

Because of the runny nose, we couldn’t return to daycare without a Covid test. Yet the clinic where we’d previously received testing suddenly refused to test my son the moment he actually needed one. Rady indicates that it does provide testing for children; in practice, we followed the procedures and never heard a word from anyone there. The county indicates it doesn’t test children yet we received a test there easily.

When the pandemic started, it was the actual tests that were in short supply. We needed time to acquire the supplies and personnel to deploy them to a meaningful number of people.

Now, it feels like we’ve accomplished the hard part of obtaining the supplies and setting up testing sites, and it’s the presumably easier part we have had control over all along – communication about how and where to obtain one – where we haven’t made any progress at all.

What VOSD Learned This Week

An election is coming! An election is coming!

Here’s our comprehensive election guide. Scott Lewis answered readers’ questions about some of the biggest races and how the election will work this year. Nora Vargas’ record on the Southwestern College governing board has come under scrutiny in her race for the County Board of Supervisors. Speaking of which, here’s what Republicans say they’ll do if they retain control of the board. We also did a quick explainer of the school funding piece of Prop. 15, and dropped in on the two most competitive Assembly races in the county.

Over in city races, we laid out some of the underexamined climate issues at stake with Measure E, and broke the news that Councilwoman Barbara Bry will recuse herself from future decisions on the city’s franchise fee agreement if Berkshire Hathaway bids, because of her significant financial stake in the company.


Meanwhile, the coronavirus still exists.

We found out more about the life of Victor Ray Cruz, who died from the virus after contracting it at the Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown.

And California continues to ban sports competitions, so families continue to schlep their kids to Arizona, where competitions are allowed.

What I’m Reading

Line of the Week

“Trump has trafficked in fear for decades, trying to frighten Americans about things that hardly exist — modern-day Communists, immigrant caravans from Central America, allies who con America into defending them for free. Now he is being undone because he is telling people that what they are genuinely terrified of is actually fine.” — When your fear-mongering doesn’t work because people are too busy being afraid for their lives.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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