Update: I'm Traveling to a Destination (or Having a Medical Procedure) which Require a Negative Covid Test within 72 Hours of Arrival, What do I do?

Update: I’m Traveling to a Destination (or Having a Medical Procedure) which Require a Negative Covid Test within 72 Hours of Arrival, What do I do?

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Whether you have an upcoming procedure or are just hoping to get away, receiving a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of the procedure or arrival is becoming easier.

Result turnaround times are becoming much shorter as compared to the winter surge. When there was a high volume of testing, longer times were expected. 

If you have an upcoming procedure, ask the facility and the provider to coordinate COVID-19 testing through that facility. If your provider is not able to coordinate your COVID-19 testing,  please check our list of local options of where you can get COVID tested.

This list includes EVERA, which provides an easy at home testing option, as well as other local testing options. 

For travel, this article from February 12, 2021, provides details on the different tests that are acceptable for travel by location.

Hawaii is a favorite destination for many Californians. Hawaii’s approved trusted testing partners are currently CVS, Walgreens, AFC Urgent Care, Bartell Drugs – in partnership with Alaska Airlines, Carbon Health, CityHealth Urgent Care, Color, Discovery Health MD, Quest Diagnostics, Vault Health and Kaiser Permanente. These are national testing options and you can check your local area for the best option near you. 

United has partnered with Gohealth at SFO to coordinate testing.  

Most destinations require a PCR test as opposed to an antibody test that looks for previous COVID infection or an antigen test which is less accurate than a PCR test. Be sure to check your location’s requirements prior to getting tested.

Children under 5 are not required to take a COVID-19 test to travel to Hawaii, however those over 5 will need to have a negative result. Some testing providers do not test children, so you will need to double-check if your approved provider tests children if you are traveling with a child aged 5 or older. 

Once you have enjoyed your vacation, you may require a negative test result upon your return.  The best option is to check with your travel agent or hotel, as most hotels are providing testing resources to their guests. 

The testing process has worked out many of its original kinks. While it is not yet perfect, it does allow for people to travel and stay safe.

Prerana Sangani, MD, March 1, 2021