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COVID-19 and Travel: When to Get a COVID PCR Test

covid-19 and travel: covid PCR test

Although many areas have opened up their COVID-19 restrictions, many others continue to have substantial requirements in place. Before traveling, it can be wise to evaluate your individual travel plans, location, and requirements. To determine which of the available COVID-19 tests you should utilize, consider the following travel recommendations. 

Current COVID-19 Travel Recommendations

There are three tests currently being used for COVID-19 testing: PCR, antigen, and antibody tests. Before utilizing one of these tests, you must evaluate your travel plans and the restrictions that correspond to the area to which you are traveling

State Recommendations

Within the United States, restrictions vary from state to state. Some states, like Tennessee, are largely open (though some counties might continue to have different restrictions and mandates). Others, like California, continue to experience a seesaw-like series of recommendations and requirements that are alternatively lifted and reinstated. Before leaving the state, be sure to check with the state to which you are heading and any states you are passing through to determine what precautions and requirements you are required to take. 

Federal Recommendations

Within the United States, travel is largely encouraged, provided that appropriate measures are taken. As per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), travelers are still encouraged to wash their hands frequently and socially distance whenever possible or appropriate. Masks may still be encouraged in crowded or enclosed areas. 

International Suggestions

Like state-to-state travel, international travel is largely subjective. Some areas are welcoming visitors with proof of a negative coronavirus test, such as Brazil. Others are refusing outside visitors, such as the U.K. Still others are allowing travel with proof of a negative COVID-19 test, with exemptions for the fully vaccinated, including Ecuador. 

COVID-19 Tests and Travel

Vaccination efforts are well underway in most areas, but COVID travel testing is a more common requirement than full vaccination. Travel restrictions are concerned primarily about continuing to limit the spread, and a negative COVID-19 test result from a trusted testing site is all that is required to travel to many areas. 

Are Antibody or PCR Tests Best for Traveling?

Antibody tests can be useful for getting back to work or going to events, but the type of test most commonly required or encouraged for travel is RT-PCR testing. This viral test evaluates the presence (or lack) of an active COVID-19 infection, rather than indicating recovery from COVID-19. 

This is the standard test to fly internationally or from state to state

When to Get a PCR Test

PCR tests may be required for far more than traveling. PCR tests are currently the gold standard for COVID-19 testing overall, and the gold standard for travel. Even if you have the COVID-19 vaccine, some areas will require testing to determine that you do not test positive for the virus. 

It is also wise to get a PCR test when you are interested in attending an event, working in the healthcare field, or when you have symptoms of a cold, the flu, or COVID-19. PCR tests can come back in less than 72 hours. Our office provides rapid PCR testing that produces results within one hour. PCR tests do not require a great deal of money or time to receive. 

PCR Testing in Memphis and Germantown

Whether your travel plans involve entry requirements, or you simply want to have the option of traveling from one place to another, PCR testing is a valuable asset. Rapid Care, an urgent care facility, offers rapid PCR testing in Memphis and Germantown, TN

Get your test today, and go somewhere new tomorrow.