Bad weather, time off work, the stigma of a positive result were all reasons why Australians said they had not gone to get a COVID-19 test.

August 27, 2020 15:58:43
Every day, state leaders front the media, revealing the latest case numbers and the number of tests conducted in the previous 24 hours.
On Wednesday, New South Wales announced it had carried out more than 25,000 tests, with Queensland conducting more than 20,000 tests.
In contrast, Victoria only recorded 13,480.
So why did Victoria’s testing rate go down?
We don’t really know for sure.
The co-host of ABC’s Coronacast, Norman Swan, mentioned a few factors, including bad weather and the fact that many people in lockdown don’t have symptoms because they may not be catching other viruses they usually would if they were out and about.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has also alluded to bad weather and fewer sick people playing a role in the lower number of tests.
But what reasons are people giving about why they are not getting tested?
We reached out to subscribers of our ABC Messenger Newsbot and asked: If you’ve experienced symptoms, but didn’t end up getting a COVID-19 test, why?
And we got a whole variety of responses back. Here were some of them
Many people said they knew their body well enough that they didn’t need to get tested
I have not been tested. I haven’t had any symptoms, but have recently had some hayfever which gave me pause for thought. A member of my household caught a virus in March and saw her GP, but her symptoms weren’t consistent with COVID so no testing was advised. Peta T
Honestly, it doesn’t sound very pleasant and that’s always put me off. I know they tell us to get tested even if we have the most mildest symptoms, but I also feel like I know my own body and I know when I’m actually sick versus when I’m just worn out from working. Josh M
I’m from QLD and have allergies this time of year, every year. Along with symptoms; runny nose, sneezing, sometimes a cough (asthma playing up). I feel like I know my body enough to understand that my symptoms are something I experience most months of the year. Anthony H
The process in getting a test seems way too involved and time consuming for hayfever symptoms. I would if it went anything beyond that. Maddison C
I have a newborn and so I am fairly sleep deprived. I know my body and I often get a sore throat when I haven’t had enough sleep. It’s tricky when I’ve been waking up with a sore throat since my baby was born! Katie M
Others, for one reason or another, didn’t have access to testing
I live in Blackall [in central-western Queensland, and there are] no testing stations here. I did 14 days’ quarantine in Brisbane [and] proved negative. I also wear a mask when going shopping. Graham K
My cousin was feeling unwell a couple of weeks back [and] she wanted to get tested but lived in Hawthorn and didn’t have a car. Even though Hawthorn is a large suburb, the closest testing location she could find was in Box Hill. It would be impossible for her to get there without using public transit or ride share and risk exposing others to the virus. Anna L
One person put off their test because of bad weather
I have been tested three times, even though I don’t leave my house. I do, however, have support workers coming in every day as I have a disability. I put off having my second test for a few days due to having to wait outside in the pouring rain for my first test at the Lucas testing site in Ballarat in regional Victoria. There was then a second, central site that is operated by DHHS and Ballarat Health Services, which has ramp access, and an undercover waiting area. As soon as this opened (two days after I got a runny nose), I rang and was tested!! Cathi S
A lot of people gave work-related reasons
I had a test about a month and a half ago and it took 13 days to get my results due to them sending the results to the wrong clinic I now have no sick leave or annual leave left due to it. I currently am coughing and have a sore throat but if I take 13 days to get my results again I will have no money at all. Even with getting the subsidy for the test. Liesha B
I put off a test for about a day because I was concerned about the impact that my absence would have on my employer, being an essential worker in a small business. Financially I was fine, but they are the ones that take a hit. I realise that the consequences would be worse if I had tested positive, however the impact on an employer is a disincentive. Caleb V
I know it’s bad but getting a test, even when it’s negative, would be really difficult for work. I only work with one other person and they rely a lot on me. If I was to get the test it would put them out, so I would only get tested if I had very obvious symptoms. Daniel T
One person hated getting a test the first time around
I’ve already been tested once and it was an entirely unpleasant experience and not one I’m in a rush to repeat! Kevin S
Another was scared of being infected at a testing clinic
I’ve had no symptoms, but that’s not to say I couldn’t have been infected. I was rather afraid to ever be tested in case I could have been infected by the person giving the corona test. They’re swabbing hundreds of people a day with probably the same gloves on and people in their cars breathing all over them! There are reports that COVID-19 testers have contracted the virus. Isabella R
And one person hesitated over the the possible stigma they would face if they did test positive
When I was sick a little while ago, I was thinking about getting the test (and ended up doing so), and I experienced a real mental gymnastics before finally arriving at the decision to get tested. I was worried about the STIGMA of it if it turned out I was positive (I was negative – phew!), I was worried about the money because I’m the sole income for our family. I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect with the test was it painful? (it wasn’t), were staff going to be mean? (they weren’t, they were so nice), how long will I wait for the outcome? (I waited less than 24 hours). Having the test actually bought a lot of peace of mind in the end, but I realised for myself why so many people find it difficult to make the decision to just go and get it done. Nollaig B
If you would like to be involved in our next callout, sign up to theABC Messenger Newsbothere and type “Corona” into the chat to get started.
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