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Covid-19 testing may be in your future, if the destination you are visiting requires you to supply a negative result upon entering their country. For me, this was a much easier process than I expected. Read on, to learn how I did it, with video!
Why would I need to get tested for Covid-19 before traveling?
I'm traveling to the Dominican Republic, to join a group of 40 other travel agents today, to explore the brand new Hyatt properties, Ziva and Zilara, as well as their beloved Sanctuary Cap Cana, with it's timeless and luxurious, old-world castle inspired decor.
The DR requires a negative Covid test upon entry. I would much rather know if I have Covid before leaving my home country, and they will allow you to bring proof of a negative test with you, if it was performed no more than 5 days prior to arrival. Otherwise, they will perform a rapid test (for free) at the airport when you land in Punta Cana.
What do you need to do first?
It is very important that you begin researching options in your area early! While you may be able to find places that perform same-day testing, it's either unlikely or it's going to be more costly. You need to give yourself three weeks or more, before your trip date, to find the location that will fit your scheduling needs.
The first call I made was to my local health department in Salisbury, NC. They offered 4 dates within the upcoming month, of when their mobile lab would perform testing at either their facility or at the old mall site, but none of these dates fell within a time-frame that would allow me to receive results before departing the US.
I was scheduled to travel on Sunday, and not knowing how many days it would take to receive the results, Tuesday prior to my departure was the furthest out that I could be tested. While all testing sites have the required PCR (standard) test, not many are performing Rapid Covid-19 tests.
It took me over a week to nail down where I would actually get the test done, (see video below) and another two weeks before my appointment actually happened.
Where should I go for testing?
I contacted my family doctor, and they didn't have any tests in the office. They did receive some the following week, but could not give me a definite time line for getting the results back. They quoted an unsure cost of $189 to $289, and were not sure if they could submit it to my health-sharing insurance plan.
For the most convenience, Fast Med Urgent Care, on Klumac Road in Salisbury, gets the win.
You can walk in, and get a test in the same day. This is not a rapid test, but rather the standard PCR test. This means that you won't know when your results will come back.
They charge a rate of $199 per test, which doesn't include the antibodies test. That will cost you an extra $110, out of pocket. The antibodies test is not an item that will be covered by insurance, but the PCR test may be covered, depending on your plan. You will still be responsible for meeting your annual deductible, before this will be paid by insurance.
Where did I finally decide to go?
I remembered that the Health Dept. had mentioned testing that was available from CRCHC, through North Rowan Medicine. I called and found out that they would be offering a mobile clinic across from their office in the Food Lion shopping center parking lot, on Tuesday, August 25th. I was required to call their office again, on the Friday before (early AM) to book my appointment for the following Tuesday.
Watch the video of my Covid-19 test here!
Getting tested through CRHCS (Cabarrus Rowan Community Health Centers), was a wonderful decision. They use a discount program - I'm not sure where it's funded from - that pays for the tests. The total out-of-pocket cost to me, was ZERO dollars, no questions asked. This was for a RAPID TEST, with results delivered in just under 90 minutes.
You can call them at 704-792-2242, to see if they have any other testing sites. And if you want to book your appointment through North Rowan Family Medicine, their number is 704-216-2630.
I recommend that you DO NOT SAY that you're seeking a Covid test for travel. Each medical form is required to have a reason listed for testing. You need to put that either you have had some symptoms of the virus, or that you may have been exposed. You can keep this generic, without naming names, by saying it happened at the grocery store.
Other than that, schedule it early and best of luck!
Lydia's passion for helping people and her business background, led her to open Wishing On Travel Agency in Rockwell, NC in 2015. Along with creating worry-free vacations for her clients, she enjoys traveling the world, listening to podcasts, getting into mischief with her friends and spending time with her husband, their two dogs, four kids & four grandkids.