The Dreaded Covid Test, Issue 61

The dreaded Covid test! I had gone twenty months without being tested. Then I made the decision to accompany my sister to Houston for her 87th birthday and that of her twin, our brother, who lives there. 

Different Tests:

  • One kind of test to board a plane from Canada to the US – C$80 each
  • Another kind of test to come back to Canada
    • We first went to CVS pharmacy as their web site seemed to indicate that we would get results within 24-hours.
    • Well that didn’t happen so off to a very efficient clinic that provided PCR results in less than six hours – for US$250 each
  • Then random selection kicks in – I get back to Trudeau International and I am the winner of another test – but free this time. 
  • All negative, but I only get the CVS results two days after we get home. The test was free so maybe I got what I paid for. 
Houston, Texas

Testing Styles:

  • To board: We used a drive-through testing centre in Montreal. It was very efficient. A nurse swabbed each nostril for 5 seconds, results were back within an hour. 
  • To come back to Canada
    • CVS – self-administered sitting in the car, a ten second swab per nostril.
    • Houston private clinic – 15 seconds in each nostril and I thought the technician would drive the swab through my skull. A moonlighting roughneck looking for oil in my brain? We were in Houston! I was left sneezing violently for 15 minutes.
  • Back in Montréal, an efficient system was set up at the airport for testing. Ten seconds each nostril with the probe inserted somewhere between the Houston roughneck exploration and the nurse at the Montréal drive through! I was told that I would not get a test result unless it was positive. 

So twenty months without a test and then four in six days. The Canadian re-entry test requirement creates the most stress. The “within 72 hours” requirement is strictly enforced so I spent a stressful 24-hours worrying about getting results in time to travel.

Next Trip

Now, we are going to England. First stop – the Air Canada web site. It sets out the Canada departure / UK entry requirements  and then the UK departure / Canada entry requirements. Not confused yet? There are numerous hyperlinked references to various UK and Canadian government web-sites. These will be sure to confuse you.

So much paperwork….or more and more apps for your Smart Phone
  • The UK requires that a Covid test be administered within 48 hours of arriving there. I am fortunate to have family in London so we have ordered Chronomics  self-test kits. We will pick them up from her home. 
  • The return – the nerve-racking PCR test within 72-hours of boarding. I haven’t quite decided the best way to do this but as we are there for 14-days I won’t worry about this today.

And then we need passenger locator forms, Arrive-CAN documents and possibly various other bits and pieces.  Don’t stop checking regularly to make sure that there isn’t something new that could mess up travel plans. 

The dreaded Covid Test! 

I am double vaxxed! We are careful! We mask indoors, in public transit, and on crowded streets. The odds of either my wife or I getting are very slim, getting seriously ill very, very, very slim…. So I don’t really dread the test! I dread: 

  • having to arrange for them;
  • not getting the timing right for return flights to Canada;
  • getting the wrong kind of test;
  • and, another fifteen minute sneezing fit. 

Worth It?

Is the “dreaded Covid Test” worth it? Everyone will have their own answer. The trip to Houston reminded me of the importance of family. My remaining siblings are between 12 and 16 years older than me. Not so unusual – WW II caused long marital separations. My family means something to me. So, not only did we see my brother and sister-in-law but also my two nephews and my niece whom I had not seen in years. I met their families. I hope that I will see them more often.

The England trip is one that I just have to make to rid myself of any Covid-residual, travel-related apprehensions. And we love London and the family that we have there.

Travelling again!

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