Need To Travel? Costco.com Sells PCR Test Kits With 24-72 Hour Results

Several airlines are offering airport testing partnerships to help open up travel to places like Hawaii, which accept negative rapid antigen tests as a way for arriving passengers to skip quarantine. Airlines are also partnering for at home tests as well. These efforts are commendable as a way to open up travel, but don’t bring travel back on their own.

  • People need something to do when they reach their destination, so life where you’re going needs to be pretty normal

  • And if the virus is rapidly spreading somewhere, people probably aren’t going to go in any case.

Nonetheless if we could get everyone on a flight tested, that would give confidence to travel since you’d know everyone else had tested negative. And more testing should at least help reduce government bans on travel. It’s a hurdle to jump through, but it’s less of a hurdle than a quarantine or prohibition.

Testing could also bring back restaurant dining, stadium sports, and conference travel. If testing was cheap enough and convenient enough, people could test themselves whenever they were going somewhere. The test might link to an app on their phone, where a QR code shows the place they’re going that they’ve just tested negative. And everyone could be required to present a negative test.

Rapid tests may not be the gold standard of lab-confirmed, but scaled testing with quick results is more prophylactic than limited testing with slow results. We aren’t there yet, in fact we aren’t close. And dealing with false positives is a challenge too.

Nonetheless we have to be making progress when Costco.com is now selling a saliva PCR test online that promises results returned in 24-72 hours. That’s the range needed for many destinations (though the outer bound plus time to get the sample to the lab could run into a problem for other destinations as well, check the specific testing requirements of your destination). And it’s not the awful nasal swab, either.

This isn’t available in Pennsylvania, Nevada, or Maryland, and they can’t ship to Puerto Rico. But it’s something you can buy from Costco as a one-off and you don’t even need to buy a pallet of tests. The price may work for a trip, but for return to normal life we really do need sub-$5 tests, which are certainly possible.

(HT: Marginal Revolution)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. 24-72h “from the time the lab receives the test” makes it unusable for most immigration restrictions

  2. I think that no cost testing is already on its way based on recent headlines:

    “Bangladesh police arrest a doctor over fake COVID-19 tests”

    “Ugandan aviation police and the Entebbe airport health team arrested 23 travelers for forging COVID- 19 test results”

    Remember all those fake service animals aboard planes? Remember all those fake Yellow Fever Cards you could download and print online to enter restricted countries? We already have passengers aboard planes using fake COVID-19 tests and corrupt doctors providing phony results. We just don’t know if Twitter and the mainstream media are going to make a concerted attempt to hide those facts as they did with Tony Bobulinski’s testimony where the former business partner of Hunter Biden, accused former VP Joe Biden of lying about his role in his son’s international business deals in China. This old journalism school grad is embarrassed at the heavily biased attempts by the press and social media to censor legitimate news and inconvenient facts when it does not fit some preconceived narrative.

  3. There’s already an EUA for a $5 saliva test called SalivaDirect. Labs just have to implement it. I honestly don’t know why they haven’t already.

  4. No way to verify who’s sample was sent. If you think you may be positive but “need” a negative result you can use a sample from someone else. There are people who will do that.

  5. My understanding is that Hawaii has a strict list of authorized partners who can actually perform the test
    If you leave on a Monday morning and something causes a delay, you will have to quarantine in your room regardless of who takes the test
    It’s complicated and confusing imo

  6. This wouldn’t work to fly to French Polynesia. It has to be a RT-PCR test from a list of approved labs. Waste of money. The testing requirement is preventing me from taking some planned vacations. I have 2 destinations that require a RT-PCR test 72 hours before departing and I am not able to get this done in Kansas City at this time. If this testing requirement is still in effect when these trips come up, one is March and one is May of 2021, I will have to postpone for the second time or cancel.

    The tests are meaningless, just part of the pros for pandemic theater.

  7. This is all well and good, but many countries specify that it must be a NASAL PCR, and additionally exclude At-Home test.

  8. @Dwondermeant I agree. Per Hawai’i State’s Department of Health website: “The state of Hawaii will ONLY accept Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a certified Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) lab test results from TRUSTED TESTING AND TRAVEL PARTNERS: AFC Urgent Care Portland, Bartell Drugs, Carbon Health, CityHealth Urgent Care, Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii, Color, CVS Health, Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Discovery Health MD, Hawaii Pacific Health, Kaiser Permanente, Minit Medical, Quest Diagnostics, Urgent Care Hawaii, Vault Health and Walgreens (as of 10/21/20).” (https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/)

    So, these Costco test results will probably not be accepted by Hawaii for entry. The tests themselves seem to be accurate though (if the 98%/99% sensitivity/specificity numbers listed on Azova’s website are valid).

  9. @AlohaDaveKennedy has been spraying right wing propaganda for years at Flyer Talk. Looks like he’s opened up shop here as well.

  10. Hawaii allows Vault Health tests, which are also at home saliva tests like the one sold at Costco. You need to fill the sample while on a zoom call with a doctor from Vault Health, and have your ID to prove it’s you.

  11. @Susie I am from Kansas City and had a hard time believing that so I did quick search. Several urgent cares and labs came up with results promised in 48-72 hours, and yes, they are PCR tests. A friend of mine just went to Dubai. She went to a lab in Carrollton, TX (paid a lot of extra for guaranteed fast results). Then she got on her flight–and knew she would not have them before getting ON the flight. But by her layover in London, (you can transit through without them) she did. She went to a place and printed out the PDF. That is what happens right now. That’s life unless you go to Brazil or Mexico, the only places letting you in without results.

  12. If you are getting your information about who to vote for off this site, then you don’t need to tell us who you are voting for . . . we already know.
    BTW, should your candidate win you can kiss off your discretionary travel funds.

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