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Growing demand for negative COVID-19 test paperwork when traveling

Posted at 9:54 AM, Aug 31, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. - With more and more people starting to travel, it’s lead to some places overseas and across the nation to make some changes, as health leaders are stressing the importance of getting a COVID-19 test. Not just because it can help slow the spread of the virus, but can also help you get to where you need to be, and it’s a trend that could continue to grow.

“If you don’t have that test, you may not be able to allowed to enter the country or state, be forced into quarantine, or even be fined a fee both for testing and for non-compliance for the requirements,” said Dr. Kelly Cawcutt, Assistant Professor of Medicine & Infectious Diseases of the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

It’s becoming more common to have paperwork proving you’ve had a negative COVID-19 test just days before your arrival to a destination overseas, and states could soon follow suit.

“Several states are starting to ask for very similar requests where you’ve had a negative COVID test within the last 3-5 days, or you’ve been in a full quarantine either on arrival, or you pay for a test on arrival,” said Cawcutt.

Proving you’ve tested negative can help slow the spread, including in areas that can’t afford to pay the price of an outbreak.

“Some of the areas that for vacation, maybe smaller areas, and they may not have a health care system that can maintain an outbreak brought in by travelers,” said Cawcutt.

So if you’re traveling, whether for work or vacation, it’s essential to lookup that pandemic related information before you even reach that spot.

“Really vetting out what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what the requirements are both for travel but also for the actual location you’re planning to attend could be things to think about and plan ahead for in ways that we haven’t routinely had to plan,” said Cawcutt.

“I would look to see if there are a lot of cases in that area and really reevaluate whether you want to go or not, if you don’t have to go and there is a lot of coronavirus things spread there, I would seriously reconsider it,” said Anne O’Keefe, Senior Epidemiologist with the Douglas County Health Department.

It’s also critical to remember that getting test results back can take a few days, so planning ahead is crucial in fighting against this deadly pandemic.

“You don’t want to go somewhere and make other people you’re visiting, whether its family, your co-workers, or business colleagues. You don’t want to make anyone else sick,” said Cawcutt.

Those health experts agree if you get a negative test, that doesn’t mean you’re clear, you should still wear a mask and social distance during the trip and when you’re back home.

This story was first reported by John Madden at KMTV in Omaha, Nebraska.