Testing 1, 2, 3
By: Alex Weiss, CFP®
It’s challenging to turn on the TV or browse the internet without being subjected to COVID-19 news overload. Long story short, we’re currently vacationing in Maine this week, but we needed to have a COVID test 72 hours prior to arrival in compliance with their current travel restrictions. What seemed like a relatively easy task turned into quite an ordeal.
COVID testing sites are available all over MA. However, if you’re getting tested for travel purposes, your options shrink considerably. Many of the testing sites do not have the rapid response function and must send the sample out for processing, which is supposed to take 2-5 days, but are currently taking anywhere from 5-7+ days. My first word of advice is to call your primary care doctor– they should be able to guide you. Our doctor’s office would only offer a test if we were exhibiting symptoms. Since we are healthy (and weren’t about to lie), they suggested we contact our local urgent care facilities.
One of my brothers called his physician’s office and they had a system in place for testing folks with travel plans. In an attempt to piggyback off his success, we also tried calling his doctor’s office on Wednesday morning in hopes of participating. They took down our information and ‘would call us back soon.’ We drove by an urgent care location near us that had rapid response testing and witnessed a line of 40+ people. With an 11-month-old in the backseat, and nap time fast approaching, this was not a gamble we were willing to take.
Thursday morning rolled around and still no word back from the doctor’s office. Come to find out, we were unable to get tested through their office since we do not belong to their practice. Of course, this would have been helpful to know from the get-go, as now our 72-hour testing window was closing in on us. Ashley and I decided to divide and conquer to get this test done- our vacation hung in the balance! Ashley made calls, and I went to CareWell Urgent Care in Needham (they have many MA locations). Luckily, the line was only 7 people deep when I arrived, though I quickly learned that this line was just to register for a future, unknown time to be tested. Using your phone, you scan a QR code to register, and then wait for them to call you to have your test administered. I submitted our names around 8:45am that morning.
I didn’t have the ability to contact the Urgent Care directly to ask about our place in the queue, and since I didn’t receive a call during the day, the only way to obtain an update was to stop by again. So around 5pm, Ash, Natalie and I took another ride over to check our status. We were told that we had 11 people ahead of us and they ‘hoped’ to get us in before they closed at 8pm. We decided to head home for dinner, and hope they called us that evening. While there, we learned that the queue does not roll over to the next day, meaning we’d have to do it all over again if we weren’t called. But as luck would have it, right as dinner was coming out of the oven, we got the call to come down.
The rapid test still tickled our brains, but fortunately and most importantly, we all got the negative results we needed in order to travel. We are now in Maine this week for some R&R. This will be our first long car ride with our little Natalie, which is probably going to be a saga all within itself.
Until next time…