Where can I take a test?
Many places offer coronavirus testing, including some hospitals, emergency care clinics, pharmacies and doctor’s offices. Some churches and fire stations also offer testing. Airlines like Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue, and American Airlines offer testing at the airport or at nearby drive-thru sites for passengers heading to certain destinations. Some airports have clinics at the terminals. Companies, including CareCube and Pixel by LabCorp, will mail you a test and return a sample to you; they promise to send you your results within 12 to 34 hours and 36 hours, respectively. JetBlue has a partnership with Vault Health for testing by mail.
It‘s a good idea to start by contacting your doctor’s office to see what all of the options are available for testing and how long it will take to get results. If you don’t have a primary care provider, a good place to start is with city and state health department websites, which outline the different options and locations for testing.
I have a trip coming up. When should I take my test?
You should take a coronavirus test before you travel. Figuring out the exact time can be difficult, but you can’t wait too long to take the test because you might not get the results in time to go on a trip.
For these reasons, many destinations, including France, Aruba, Bonaire, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii, require the test to be taken within 72 hours of departure. Abu Dhabi and Croatia require test results to be within 48 hours of departure. Some airlines, like Egypt Air, allow travelers to use the results of a test taken up to 96 hours before travel, depending on their destination and destination.
Confused by the terms relating to coronavirus testing? Let us help you:
- Antibody: A protein produced by the immune system that can recognize and attach precisely to specific types of viruses, bacteria or other invaders.
- Antibody test / serological test: A test that detects specific antibodies to the coronavirus. Antibodies start to appear in the blood about a week after the coronavirus has infected the body. Because antibodies take so long to develop, an antibody test cannot reliably diagnose an ongoing infection. But it can identify people who have been exposed to the coronavirus in the past.
- Antigen test: This test detects pieces of coronavirus protein called antigens. Antigen tests are quick, take only five minutes, but are less accurate than tests that detect the genetic material of the virus.
- Coronavirus: Any virus belonging to the Orthocoronavirinae virus family. The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is known as SARS-CoV-2.
- Covid19: The disease caused by the new coronavirus. The name is the abbreviation for coronavirus disease 2019.
- Isolation and quarantine: Isolation is the separation of those who know they have a contagious disease from those who do not. Quarantine refers to restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a virus.
- Nasopharyngeal swab: A long flexible stick with a soft swab that is inserted deep into the nose to take samples from the space where the nasal cavity meets the throat. Samples for coronavirus tests can also be collected with swabs that do not penetrate as deep into the nose – sometimes called nasal swabs – or oral or throat swabs.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): Scientists use PCR to make millions of copies of genetic material in a sample. Tests using PCR allow researchers to detect the coronavirus even when it is rare.
- Viral load: The amount of virus in a person’s body. In people infected with the coronavirus, the viral load may peak before starting to show symptoms, if symptoms do appear.
You can enter a test site, but it’s a good idea to make an appointment and not wait until the last minute to take the test.
How long does it take to retrieve test results?
If you are taking a test because you are preparing to go on a trip, you should look for test providers who will provide you with the results within 36 hours, so that you have your results when you leave for your trip. Keep in mind that different tests will have different wait times for results. Rapid tests typically return results within an hour, and PCR test results tend to take a few days because samples need to be sent to a lab.
There is always a chance that your results won’t arrive on time, so try to be flexible in your travel plans.