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From The Doctors

COVID Testing Timeline for the Holidays

December 16, 2020

COVID-19 Holiday Travel

If you choose to gather with friends or family this holiday season, be sure to take every precaution possible to limit the risk of virus transmission. This includes virus testing. While getting tested doesn’t guarantee the gift of health, it can be an important safeguard. Dr. Khare addresses common questions, including when to get tested, below. 

Q: I am road tripping to see family on Christmas day. When should I get tested?

A:  It can take several days to get PCR test results back from the lab. To ensure you have results before you go, I recommend getting tested by December 18th. This grants a little extra time from what it usually takes to get results back. Labs are very busy right now, and the holiday season can amplify the volume, so allowing an additional day or two, just in case, is important. Another option is our at-home saliva PCR test kit. 

Q: I am flying to see family and need to be tested within 72 hours of my flight. Will I get my results in time? 

A: Possibly. It can take up to four days for us to get PCR results from the lab. While we usually have results between 2-3 days, this unfortunately cannot be guaranteed. If you need documentation for a flight, I highly recommend scheduling an appointment at COVID of Chicago, our affiliate clinic. They use a new PCR test that can be read in their onsite lab within two-hours. Unfortunately, the test is not covered by insurance. You may pay what you saved in airfare to guarantee results in time to fly, but you’ll be able to pack with ease knowing you already have the documentation needed in hand.  

Q: Are you open for testing on Christmas and New Years?

A: Innovative Express Care is open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, but closed on Christmas day and New Years Day. Test results will continue to be communicated, even on the days we are closed. 

Q: If I only have a few guests, and we get tested before we see one another, is it safe to gather for the holiday? 

A: The safest thing to do is to stay home and spend the holiday only with your immediate family that lives in your household. If you choose to see others, keep your gathering small (less than 10 people). Getting tested prior to gathering is an excellent idea, just like the successful NBA bubble. Have everyone schedule a test at Innovative Express Care  4-5 days before the gathering to ensure enough time to get results. If a family member cannot find a test or is a last minute add-on, it is a good idea to get a rapid test at COVID of Chicago, who can get a rapid test back within about an hour, even on Christmas Eve.

Stay safe and healthy. Happy holidays.

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