CDC updates COVID-19 testing guidance for travelers

CDC updates COVID-19 testing guidance for travelers
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 12:16 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Summer travel is right around the corner and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its COVID-19 testing guidance for travelers, including those taking vacations within the United States. The agency is now advising everyone, including those vaccinated and boosted, to get a COVID-19 test no more than three days before a trip.

Western Mass News took questions to a local travel expert to see how this might impact the upcoming vacation season and spoke with one local doctor to find out his thoughts about this updated COVID-19 guidance for travelers.

“We’re still kind of surging this omicron wave and we haven’t really peaked yet. The expectation is we’re going to get more cases and significantly more over the next two to four weeks,” said Dr. Esteban Delpilar, infectious disease doctor for Baystate Health.

New COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that all travelers get a COVID-19 test at least three days before taking a trip, even if it’s within the United States. Western Mass News spoke with an infectious disease doctor from Baystate Health, to see if he believes this is a good added measure.

“You want to make sure that you’re okay before you leave and if you develop symptoms when you get there or when you come back you want to know was it something that was already incubating when I was still home and just developed symptoms wherever I went or was it something that I caught where I was and brought it back home,” said Dr. Delpilar.

The CDC previously recommended testing before traveling for people who were not vaccinated or up to date with their booster shots and still requires it for international travelers coming into the United States. AAA spokesperson Mark Schieldrop told us that despite the CDC’s recent updated COVID-19 travel guidance. He expects travel to return to 2019 levels as Memorial Day approaches.

“At this point in the pandemic, most people at this stage either feel comfortable about traveling or don’t, so a lot of folks have been flying over the past year,” said Schieldrop.

We asked Shieldrop for advice for travelers if they do end up testing positive before vacation.

“If there is a concern about your trip getting canceled or a similar issue because of COVID, that’s one reason, why we really encourage people to get trip insurance and make sure when you get that trip insurance there is a provision in there to cover covid related situations,” said Shieldrop.

Shieldrop also believes people traveling domestically will follow the CDC’s advice and take a COVID-19 test ahead of traveling.

“For many people stocking up on test kits and testing before you fly is a good idea and I think a lot of people will be doing that,” said Shieldrop.

Shieldrop also recommends that travelers continue to look to the CDC for the latest travel guidance.