Travel and COVID-19 Testing

Travel and COVID-19 Testing

Some travel destinations or airlines are requiring you to get tested for COVID-19 before your flight! 

In fact, here are a couple of things you need or need to know before you can fly:

  1. Documentation of a negative COVID-19 test.
  2. If you have had COVID within the past three months, you will require the results of a negative test a signed letter from your healthcare provider on official letterhead that states you are safe to travel. 
  3. Antibody tests do not qualify. You must have the results from a viral COVID-19 test. 

Before you travel, the CDC recommends you rigorously practice social distancing and wear your mask. They also recommend avoiding social gatherings or joining large groups. Try to limit your time around other people to reduce the risk of you getting COVID-19. 

While you may want to go for the quick, same-day results of a rapid COVID-19 test, many destinations actually require the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. The PCR COVID-19 test takes a little bit longer for results to show, but it’s more reliable than the rapid test. With that in mind, be sure to get tested at least a few days before your planned departure to ensure you have the results in time. 

The PCR test detects the genetic information of the virus in the person being tested. By way of a nasal swab, the PCR test looks for the RNA of the virus in a person to determine if there is an active infection. By detecting active infection, it can help to quickly break the chain of transmission to prevent the virus from spreading to others! 

If your test comes back positive, you should not do any traveling. You should self-isolate to keep from infecting others. If they come back negative, it is still a good idea to wear a mask and protect yourself when you go out and about. Be sure to keep your test results with you when you’re traveling, just in case someone asks for them.

When you return from your trip, you should also get retested 3-5 after you return home to ensure you are not sick. Even if your results come back negative, it’s recommended you stay home for a week. 

Need to get tested? You can come to HealthCARE Express. If you want to shorten the wait and avoid possible contact with those who might be infected with COVID-19, you can try out our new contactless check-in option. PCR tests are available at every location, and rapid tests are available in Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana (coming soon to Oklahoma) to suit whatever your travel needs may be.