Extra Insurance

I think we all know by now that it isn’t ‘masks OR vaccine’; it is ‘masks AND vaccine’.  Gotta love the Delta variant and the number of people who still won’t consider being vaccinated ☹.

We are vaccinated and mask up indoors.  So where might testing fit in?

We plan a trip to Canada later in September.  To cross the border from the U.S., we need to provide proof of being fully vaccinated AND a negative COVID 19 test.  The test needs to be done with the PCR method and within 72 hours of our entry to Canada.

All of this got me thinking about travel in general, but particularly travel that involves hosting or staying with family/friends in their homes. In addition to being vaccinated and masking as needed, I think COVID testing prior to arrival is both courteous and ‘extra insurance’. 

We all know that vaccinated people can be infected and have a viral load that is similar to unvaccinated people. 

I don’t think a PCR test is necessarily needed for this purpose; the widely available home antigen tests are probably fine.  I loaded up on BinaxNOW by Abbott home tests on sale for $11.99.  That is affordable for most people, but I have heard they are now difficult to find because they are pretty popular these days!

Yes, any COVID test result is only good for that moment in time.  And we also know that antigen tests aren’t as accurate as PCR tests.  But I think they can still serve a purpose.

Here is a Washington Post article that does a good job describing the pros and cons of home tests.  

I would definitely consider a home test if I had symptoms or knew I was exposed to COVID 19.  If I tested positive, I would immediately isolate, contact my health provider, and likely get a PCR test done to confirm the results. In Washington, it is now possible to report a positive result from an at-home test through the state’s COVID-19 hotline.

According to the article:

At-home rapid tests are just one “tool in the toolbox”. People should still be prioritizing vaccination and other strategies that can help lower the risk of spread. “Each of these strategies reduces risk further. Nothing can reduce risk to zero, but they each play a part.”

Clare Rock, M.D., Infectious Disease Physician, John Hopkins School of Medicine, 8/28/21

We have some house guests coming this weekend.  All of us are vaccinated and we will certainly be wearing masks as mandated.  And all of us are going to take an at home test before we gather as another tool in the toolbox and for that tiny bit of ‘extra insurance’.



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