Waiting to Take a COVID Test With Little Hope for Help

It’s nearly as bad as it’s ever been but you’re on your own now

Maria Shimizu Christensen


Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

We’re hoping to dodge a bullet. Again. Well, a hypothetical bullet. The bullet of COVID tearing through your life and plans.

My son spent a few hours the other morning working alongside someone who thought he had allergies because he has allergy attacks all the time. When the cough got bad, the coworker left work and went to take a COVID test. He’s positive. We don’t know what variant, but it hardly matters.

You have to wait at least a couple of days before taking a test after being exposed, but you can’t work. In our state, and most others, L&I won’t pay for the first three days of an illness contracted on the job. So hourly workers are screwed. A minimum of three unpaid days really hurts when you’re working a low-paid job.

You can get paid for sick time if you have enough accrued and if you have an employer who offers it. And you won’t have much accrued if you’ve only been working at a job for a few months. In our state and our city it’s mandated and you accrue one hour for every 40 worked. Lots of states don’t have any laws on sick time. The Department of Labor actually has a line in a help section for employers that states they might want to consider offering a sick time policy. Strong words.

Most people ran out of unemployment benefits in September. The federal government has no plans to step back in. NPR reports that,

“Despite the vaccines’ arrival, COVID-19 has killed more Americans in 2021 than it did in 2020.”

No one sincerely cares any more. Or, at least, no one with any power to do anything to alleviate the hardships the powerless face and suffer through.

A news report on CNN caught my attention yesterday. Not because a woman tested positive in mid-flight and quarantined herself in the bathroom, which was unusual enough. On a flight to Switzerland the plane was stopping in Iceland. Once there, the rest of the family flew on to Switzerland, while Icelandic authorities whisked her to a Red Cross hotel.

“Doctors checked in on her three times…



Maria Shimizu Christensen

Writer. Maker. Featured in Medium’s 2021 list of Stories That Started Conversations. I write about life. https://www.mariashimizuchristensen.com