Epic Adventure Starts Here

COVID testing prior to returning to the U.S.

  • COVID testing prior to returning to the U.S.

    Posted by pauldavidmena on January 14, 2022 at 7:56 am

    Back in December the CDC issued the requirement of a negative rapid test within a day of returning to the U.S. from an international location – including Mexico, of course. This presents travelers with an interesting dilemma: in the remote chance that one tests positive for COVID, what does one do?

    When I asked this question of St. Jude’s Hospital in Todos Santos, they said that I would need to isolate for 5 days before getting retested. Given that I’ll be checking out of an AirBnB on the following morning, I’ll need to scramble to find a place to stay – and to not be out in public for the next 5 days. This would be easy if I lived in Todos part-time – I would just return to my home – but navigating quarantine from a hotel (assuming there are any vacancies during February) would be much trickier. Not to mention the need to reschedule the return flight, the rental car return and our dog sitter back in MA. It’s making us strongly reconsider our plans.

    Has anyone on BN experienced a positive test in Baja since this rule was put in place (or know of someone who has)? I’d be curious to know if the likelihood is so negligible that it’s worth the risk to escape a New England winter for 8 days (and possibly 13).

    BajaGringo replied 2 years, 1 month ago 2 Members · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • BajaGringo

    January 14, 2022 at 8:14 am

    Interesting scenario Paul and I remember seeing where the NY Times wrote about this last month…

    The Omicron variant has many considering the prospects of getting stuck while traveling. Here’s what you need to know.

    So what happens if you test positive while traveling internationally?

    A crucial step while planning any trip is to familiarize yourself with the points at which you will have to take a test and what would happen if you or someone you were traveling with tested positive, including the length and type of quarantine. In some destinations, the only concrete consequence of a positive test is that you can’t board a flight. In other destinations, health officials might require you to stay in a government hospital or a quarantine hotel for more than 10 days.

    Pack as if you’re going to get stuck, advised Amy Eckhardt, the owner of World View Adventures, a travel agency based in Buffalo, N.Y. That might mean bringing two additional weeks of medication and your work laptop, if remote work is an option.

    Ms. Eckhardt has yet to have a client test positive while abroad, but she’s learned from her own experience. To celebrate her 40th birthday, she spent about a month and a half in Mexico last winter before vaccination was an option. For the final leg of her trip, she picked a resort in Costa Mujeres that offered free on-site testing and covered the costs of food and lodging during quarantine, if required.

    When her results came back positive on Jan. 31, she said, hotel employees asked her to put on a “biohazard orange” wristband and to move from her oceanfront room to a basement room in “the quarantine section.”

    Fortunately, she never developed any serious symptoms and her primary obstacle was boredom, which she countered by posting detailed updates about the iguana on her patio and other humorous observations in a private Facebook group for travel agents. After completing her 10 days of quarantine, she tested negative and flew back to the United States.

    Quarantine policies vary by destination. Some countries may require visitors who test positive to quarantine for as many as 10 days. In Hong Kong and some parts of Mexico, for example, it’s not uncommon for resorts to deter quarantining visitors from leaving their rooms by not providing a key.

    If you are fully vaccinated and in good health, it’s likely that you won’t develop severe symptoms or require medical treatment. But you might. Identifying a doctor back home or in your destination that you can contact with concerns, if necessary, is advisable. If you have an underlying medical condition, like high blood pressure or diabetes, you may want to reach out to your doctor as soon as you test positive, even if you don’t have symptoms.

    If you test positive but other members of your group do not, you will want to stay in separate rooms if possible. It’s therefore worth inquiring what a resort’s policy is should that happen, or considering whether your rental would enable that arrangement.

    How long does it take to test negative?

    Someone infected with Covid will typically test positive for five to eight days, said Dr. Freedman of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

    In rare cases someone might test positive for as long as six weeks, even though the individual is no longer contagious, he said. There is a way to get around this in some cases. Many countries and airlines will accept a certificate of recovery from a doctor or health official in lieu of a test. Erika Richter, a spokeswoman for the American Society of Travel Advisors, a trade organization, urged people to review the C.D.C.’s highly specific requirements for that certificate.

    Dr. Volk, the president of the College of American Pathologists, recommends that anyone who tests positive with an at-home or antigen test, follows up with a P.C.R. test, which is much more likely to give you a true positive.

    Will travel insurance cover costs if I test positive?

    It depends on the type of insurance. Some policies will cover additional airfare and lodging for up to seven days past your originally scheduled return date, effectively covering just a week of quarantine. Some policies will also cover medical costs abroad, which are often excluded from traditional health insurance policies.


    And here’s the story of a man who got stuck in Mexico after testing positive:

    What started as a holiday vacation in Mexico has turned into an extended stay for a Norman couple due to a positive COVID test.

    The man said when they tried to return home from Mexico, he tested positive for COVID-19, and had to stay behind while his wife flew back to the metro. Timothy Shannon and his wife said goodbye to each other on the 23rd of December.

    The family had to spend Christmas, and now their New Year’s and 19th anniversary, over Facetime.

    The part that frustrates Timothy the most, with the new CDC guidelines, is he and the airline said he should be good to fly.

    “Today’s kind of tough too because today is my actual anniversary,” said Timothy Shannon.

    He and his wife went to Mexico, the week before Christmas as an early anniversary celebration.

    They planned to fly home on Dec. 23rd, but had to get COVID tested 24 hours prior.

    His test came back positive.

    “We had been taking temperatures at every restaurant all day long. I really had no symptoms whatsoever,” explained Shannon.

    He added, “they said that my wife was still ok to fly since we were both asymptomatic and she had negative test.”

    Shannon stayed behind.

    “I will say it was probably an easier decision because it was me and not because it was her cause that would have been a much more difficult decision to leave my wife here alone and go home with the kids in fact I don’t think I could have done that.”

    He and his wife have 4 kids, and this year Shannon had to spend Christmas morning hundreds of miles away.

    “They’re still at that age where time is kind of getting short. So every vacation, every holiday is important.

    So, missing one is not something you want to have happen.’

    Shannon was still asymptomatic on Dec. 27th, when the CDC changed the quarantine guidelines to allow travelers with a positive result to fly with proof of recovery from a doctor, which Shannon had.

    But the 3rd party app used by American Airlines for travel to Mexico, VeriFly, hadn’t updated its policies yet.

    “They only have the spot to submit one form, so you either have to choose to submit your positive COVID test or your doctor release letter, but you can’t submit both.

    The problem is that doesn’t meet the airlines policy,” he explained.

    “I can understand that it might take some companies time to implement policy changes but when your company’s sole job, such as VeriFly, is to implement and enforce COVID policy, you should be in real time,” added Shannon.

    He even went to the airport and hoped to catch a flight back home but instead, had to make the hour-long return trip back to the resort.

    “And security wouldn’t let me through the gate. They basically said I had checked out, so I was no longer a guest at the hotel.

    They eventually let him back in and continued to comp his room and food while he quarantines.

    “You have no room key so that way if you leave your room and try to sneak out, the door locks behind you. Then you have no choice but to tell someone,” said Shannon.

    Shannon hopes to walk through airport doors and reunite with his wife and kids on Sunday.


Log in to reply.

New Report


Share to...