Shortly, the holidays will be upon us and soon we will usher in 2021. Many people are ready to enjoy a trip to see friends or family in the coming weeks. While the pandemic is still prevalent be armed with knowledge and know what COVID tests you should consider taking.
There are two main tests – an antibody test which detects if you’ve been previously infected though can’t tell if you’re currently infected with COVID.
The second type of test (viral) looks to see if the virus is currently in your body. There are two types of tests – RT–PCR tests and rapid-antigen tests – both are used to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
While there is no 100% accuracy, a negative result means you have the virus. Please note there are false negative rates for RT-PCR tests ranging from 2-29%. The variance reflects user error and which manufacturer is producing the test. The average result time to receive further results is three days. At this time, RT-PCR tests are the best ones available.
Rapid-antigen tests may be faster and cheaper, but are less accurate than RT–PCR tests. It may take only a day to acquire the result, but false negative rates are as high as 50%. It works best on people that already have symptoms within a week of their onset so it is easier to detect the virus.
Whichever test you take, the results are only good in that moment as it doesn’t mean the day after you can become infected. The incubation period varies anywhere between 2-14 days. You can also be asymptomatic and never have any symptoms.
Prior to your travel plans consider a strict 14-day quarantine or at least isolate as much as possible. Wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands frequently.
Travel tip: Consider buying travel insurance as it will save you many headaches in the long run.