When you get a positive test while traveling

t happens. You're traveling and just tested positive. What do you do? 

 

The CDC requires that all travelers to the US test negative 24 hours before boarding their plane home. they will need to show proof of a negative test (or proof of recovery) in order to board their flight.

 

This is a highly emotional moment -- here are a few ideas that may help you navigate this situation:

 

Getting Tested

It is a good idea to bring several rapid tests along with you. They may not be as easy to find locally. Some test kits like QURED include an online process with a medical professional that can certify negative results needed for returning to the USA.

 

Local Regulations

The U.S. State Department says that citizens traveling internationally may have to extend, at their own expense, their stay abroad if they test positive. Travelers also are subject to the quarantine requirements in the country they are visiting. The department offers country-specific information on U.S. Embassy websites, which may include instructions for what to do in case of a positive test. 

 

Quarantining

If you test positive, you, and likely those sharing room with you may need to quarantine until they can show a negative test or show that they have recovered. For this reason, it is advised that they get an officially recognized test as soon as they have any symptoms or think they may have been exposed. This test can be a simple rapid antigen test but should be administered by a qualified 3rd party (or validated virtually via Qured or similar).

 

The reason to test immediately is that it starts the quarantine clock for them and you want to do that as soon as possible.

Extending Their Stay

The CDC has set the minimum isolation time from the onset of symptoms or a positive test at 5 days so appropriate arrangements need to be made.

 

Your clients should also immediately let the staff at the hotel know they have tested positive. Different hotels have different policies, but in all cases, it is better to know what their options are right away. Some destinations will cover some of the costs but this seems to be a waning tendency.

 

Generally, these extra nights will be at your expense if they were not included nights. Make sure to check what type of insurance you have and what may be covered.

 

You should be advised that if you are isolated that means avoiding breakfast buffets or other places where people gather. Using cell phone apps to order food for delivery becomes standard practice in these cases. Many of these apps will also deliver things like masks, sanitizers, and analgesics.

 

If you are feeling seriously ill, you should ask the hotel front desk for contact information with a local medical professional, or take an Uber to a hospital.

 

Changing Return Flights

If the typical 5 day quarantine period impacts the client’s original return, a change in flights will be necessary. The first step is to check with their airline to discover what that particular airline's policies are as they will differ between airlines. One likely scenario is to change the return flight to the 6th-day post-positive test, allowing for the typical 5-day lockdown. Again, this may vary by destination and an additional change may be needed based upon their condition and local rules.

 

Time in quarantine

You should be advised that if you are isolated that means avoiding breakfast buffets or other places where people gather. Using cell phone apps to order food for delivery becomes standard practice in these cases. Many of these apps will also deliver things like masks, sanitizers, and analgesics.

 

If they are feeling seriously ill, they should ask the hotel front desk for contact information with a local medical professional, or take an Uber to a hospital.

 

Getting Ready to Fly Back

As they approach the end of the 5-day isolation they should:
- Get tested again, the day before a revised departure date is advisable, as a negative test will be sufficient to fly back to the US.
- If they test positive but are feeling better, they can avail themselves of a “Document of Recovery” from a service such as QuckMD or similar services. Or they may be able to do a virtual visit with their regular doctor.
- These services cost $75 for an appointment. They should do it on day 5 of isolation. They should register with their USA address. Appointments may be in the USA time zone and will happen on their cell phone so they need to be sure they are using the calling over WiFi feature of Apple and Android phones.

 

Information required for the recovery document includes:
1. Date when they first tested positive
2. Date when they had an OFFICIAL POSITIVE TEST (may be different from #1) - again they will want this date to indicate in the letter
3. Symptoms
4. That they feel better
5. That they have isolated for the 5 days
6. When they are due to fly out

Make sure they get a printed copy of the document of recovery and test. This will help prevent boarding issues at the airport.