SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- It started with a sore throat.

Then came other symptoms. 

It’s now been a week of self-isolation.

I’ve been told it’s unlikely that what I have is COVID-19 and I might just have picked up another bug. But after calling New Brunswick’s 811 line this week, I was lucky enough to get a referral to find out for sure.

There are six community testing centres currently set up in New Brunswick. Saint John’s centre is on the outskirts of town, just past the airport, at the Horizon Health-run HOPE Wellness Centre on Loch Lomond Road.

That’s where I was sent for testing.


It was around 11:20 a.m. when I arrived for my appointment. I drove up to the gate near the front of the building being manned by a security guard. Once he took my name and gave me a rundown of what to do, I was let through to the next stop.

Once it was my turn, I drove up to one of the two white testing tents set up behind the building and was met by two nurses who were dressed in protective gear.


They first checked off a list of my symptoms then pumped sanitizer onto my hands before starting the test.

My oxygen level was taken first —then my temperature —and finally, the notorious nasal swab.

I’m not going to lie to you. The thing is long, and it’s uncomfortable. It stings. But it’s also over quickly.

In fact, the whole process from start to finish couldn’t have taken much more than 10 minutes. And it is a drive-thru style -- at no point do you get out of your vehicle.

When it was over, one of the nurses handed me a document on how to care for someone who has COVID-19 at home. I was told I’d hear from Public Health within 48 hours.

Then I drove off, and that was it.

It was a strange experience, definitely unlike anything I’ve done before. But then again, these are strange times.

On the LED board outside of the Saint John testing centre, it reads: “May we remember Horizon Health in our prayers.” 

Healthcare workers are on the front lines of this, testing and treating people like me, like you, and — in these strange, uncertain times —their strength really shines through.

So, thank you to them. And to everyone working through this.

For me, I’m back home —- waiting for my results to come in, hoping to soon return to a TV near you.


Laura Lyall tweeted on Sunday that she has tested negative for COVID-19, and thanked everyone for their well wishes.