I’m traveling to a destination (or having a medical procedure) which requires a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival, what do I do? – The Village Doctor

I’m traveling to a destination (or having a medical procedure) which requires a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival, what do I do?

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Whether you have an upcoming procedure or just hope to get away, obtaining a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of the procedure or arrival can be a real challenge, both locally and nationally.  While result turn-around times have again improved after the summer’s second surge of infections, we still recommend scheduling your test to be done as close to the 72-hour mark as possible to minimize worry that results won’t be back in time.  If you have an upcoming procedure and your provider is able to coordinate COVID-19 testing through that facility, that is best.  If your provider is not able to coordinate your COVID-19 testing, please read on.

At this time we recommend Stanford drive-through testing for any 72-hour turn-around requirement. Please see our Where Can I Get Tested Locally for COVID-19 FAQ for more information on how to sign up for a drive-through appointment at Stanford through your MyHealth account (and how to create an account if you don’t yet have one).  We recommend logging in to schedule a drive-through appointment at least a week ahead of your desired drive-through appointment time, and to schedule the drive-through appointment for 72 hours prior to your planned procedure or departure time.

Please note, most pre-procedure and travel requirement testing requires the test use “PCR” technology (which Stanford’s does).  Many rapid turnaround tests (“same day”) such as the Abbot IDNow test or saliva tests are not as sensitive and may not be sufficient to meet the destination public health requirements.

With so many schools opting for remote learning and so many parents ready to get away, many patients have been asking us what we know about Hawaii’s new negative COVID-19 test requirement as a way to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine on entry.  While Hawaii’s current plan seems to be to implement this beginning October 1st, this has already been delayed once and plans are not yet finalized for the October 1 timeline either.  That said, when it is implemented, we know several of you will be taking advantage of it!  You can read more here, and an excerpt here:

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, at the earliest, trans-Pacific travelers arriving in Hawaii from out-of-state will have the option to get a valid COVID-19 test prior to their arrival, and show proof of a negative test result, to avoid the 14-day quarantine. Evidence of a negative test result must be provided upon arrival in Hawaii. Without this, passengers arriving from out-of-state will be subject to the 14-day quarantine. Travelers will be responsible for the cost of the pre-travel test. No testing will be provided upon arrival at the airport. The Health Department is developing this program, but anticipates requiring an FDA-approved test from a CLIA certified laboratory. The details and requirements are to be determined.

(Jennifer Abrams, MD, September 14, 2020)
Stanford University (undergrad)
Stanford University (med school)
Stanford University (residency)