Do I Need to Get Tested for COVID-19 Before Traveling?
With traveling returning to pre-pandemic level, it is still recommended that travelers take precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19. Travel restrictions within the United States have been lifted, while international travel requirements may still vary. Whether you’re visiting family you haven’t seen in many, many months or finally taking that honeymoon trip you planned way back in 2019, it’s a good idea to check in about COVID-19 testing requirements before you leave.
For Unvaccinated Travelers
Unvaccinated individuals can travel domestically without showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test. However, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends getting tested before and after traveling.
If you choose to travel internationally, countries may have their own entry and exit requirements, so it’s important to check these before your trip. For the most updated requirements, visit the CDC for updated United States International Travel requirements.
What’s more, no matter if you take a domestic or international trip, you should take the following precautions afterward:
- Receive a COVID-19 test three to five days after your trip.
- Self-quarantine at home for a full seven days after your return (extend that timeline to 10 days if you choose to not get tested).
- Avoid being around those who are considered high-risk for complications from COVID-19 for at least 14 days.
Need a COVID-19 Test Before Traveling?
PhysicianOne Urgent Care provides prompt COVID-19 testing services for residents of Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. We offer PCR and rapid antigen tests as well as antibody testing. And to make it even easier, you can schedule a rapid PCR test or a telehealth visit to get things started.
Types of COVID-19 Tests at PhysicianOne
At PhysicianOne Urgent Care, we offer three types of COVID-19 testing: polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, rapid antigen tests, and antibody tests:
- Rapid PCR Tests
Considered the gold standard of COVID-19 testing, PCR tests deliver the most accurate results. This test is administered using a nasopharyngeal swab that collects nose and throat secretions that are examined to determine if specific genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 is present. Results for PCR tests are returned within 24 hours, although that timeline is often longer during peak periods.
- Rapid Antigen Tests
Rapid Antigen tests detects viral antigens (a protein that directs your body to produce an immune response to an infection) of COVID-19, it is best administered when your viral load is the highest—i.e., in the first few days after you started experiencing symptoms. Rapid antigen tests can deliver results quickly, sometimes in as little as 15 minutes. In some instances, if you receive a negative result on a rapid test, your practitioner may recommend receiving the PCR test to make sure it wasn’t a false negative.
- Antibody Tests
An antibody test can identify if you were infected with COVID-19 in the past. Antibodies are proteins that your immune system creates to help fight off infection. Since it typically takes one to three weeks after infection for the antibodies to show up, this test is not a good predictor of a current infection.
How the COVID-19 Telehealth Process Works
Booking a Virtual Visit with PhysicianOne Urgent Care is incredibly easy, and they’re available 24/7. You’ll fill out a simple form to explain the symptoms you’re experiencing and select a time for the Virtual Visit to start. Then, when it’s time for your appointment, you’ll simply click the link we gave you, which will launch a videoconferencing application. You’ll need a smartphone, tablet, or webcam-enabled computer for the Virtual Visit.
During your appointment, you’ll speak face-to-face with one of our experienced medical providers who will ask you specific questions about the symptoms you’re experiencing to determine if you need a COVID-19 test. If so, the provider will arrange for you to receive the test at one of our conveniently located urgent care centers. Best of all, your test will be prioritized when you arrive, so you’ll be in and out in no time.
Schedule A COVID-19 Testing for Travel at PhysicianOne
PhysicianOne Urgent Care has locations in Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut, all of which are open seven days per week with extended hours. You can receive the COVID-19 test you need quickly and conveniently so you can focus on more important things, like making sure your suitcase is packed and ready to go.