While the delta variant has taken some of the wind out of the sails of a joyful, post-pandemic summer, it hasn’t stopped everything.
According to Port of Portland spokesperson Kama Simonds, the number of travelers coming through Portland International Airport has remained steady all summer, at 25% to 30% below the travel volumes of 2019, and significantly higher than travel volumes in summer 2020.
But COVID-19 remains a factor and many destinations are requiring negative COVID tests for entry. Hawaii is a big one, but so is Canada, which opened its borders to vaccinated US tourists this month. Iceland, another popular travel destination, also requires negative tests.
No matter where you travel, if it’s outside of the United States and you are over two, you will need a negative COVID test to get back home.
Well before you go, make sure you know the specifics.
- Hawaii only accepts nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT tests) from “trusted partners” for those who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated people can register with the state and avoid testing.
- To get into Canada, you must also provide a negative COVID test, even if you are vaccinated. That test cannot be an antigen test.
- Most tests need to happen within 72 hours of travel.
- If you are traveling to Mexico, you won’t need a test to go, but, like everywhere else, you will need a test to get back into the country.
- The requirements to get into other countries around the world vary. Make sure you check well before you travel to see what those requirements may be.
Where can you get a test in the Portland area?
Legacy/GoHealth Urgent Care clinics
A spokesperson for Legacy Health said their area GoHealth centers are open for testing travelers, and they will continue to offer those tests in Portland and Southwest Washington as long as there is “sufficient supply.”
There are multiple GoHealth Urgent Care clinics and appointments can be made online.
If you are a member, you can schedule a test through Kaiser in the Portland area.
“We’re definitely seeing an increase in demand (for testing overall),” said Debbie Karman, a spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente, “but our testing turnaround time — which is the time from collection to lab result — is staying steady at this point. We tell our members to anticipate 1 to 2 days.”
Walgreens offers three kinds of tests but one, the BinaxNOW, isn’t a NAAT test so that’s out for travel. You will be hard-pressed to get an appointment for the faster turnaround ID Now rapid diagnostic test at any Portland locations, but there are openings for the regular diagnostic test. Be aware though, the turnaround time on that could be longer than you need.
CarbonHealth offers tests at two Portland locations — the airport and downtown. These tests sites are set up specifically to clear passengers traveling to Hawaii and Alaska, though Alaska doesn’t currently require a negative test. They do not guarantee results for international travel.
Another airport option is Worksite Labs, which offers NAAT tests at a drive-up location that can be done, for a fee, in as little as 90 minutes. It’s also approved for Hawaii and, according to the website meets “most countries travel testing requirements.”
American Family Care
American Family Carewhich has sites in Portland and several suburbs, also offers tests that are approved by the state of Hawaii for travel.
For travelers over 5, Costco offers an at-home test that is video monitored. You can either order it online or pick it up in stores and you don’t have to be a member to get this test. Just make sure you plan ahead and make your appointment for video monitoring in time.
Find out more about COVID safety at PDX at flypdx.com/travelsafe.
— Lizzy Acker