Months after countries around the world began to lift restrictions on travel, new concerns are emerging among travelers needing to comply with COVID-19 testing requirements. The countries that maintained RT-PCR requirements have decreased the amount of time a test would be valid for. Consumers are now required to not only look for a PCR testing facility but also for a facility that can deliver results faster than ever before. Where to get an urgent PCR test for travel in Windsor? What if you just have a few hours and looking for a covid 19 Windsor testing facility that would deliver quick results? What if your country requires a specific high end travel grade RT-PCR test not a regular NAAT or LAMP test? Which travel clinic or assessment centre to choose?
Different covid 19 tests explained
By now most of us will be aware that the two most common types of tests currently offered to consumers are a rapid antigen test and a molecular tests detecting genetic material in the process of polymerase chain reaction (PCR tests). Both tests require a nasal, nasopharyngeal swab or saliva collection. The antigen test is quick with results available in as little as 15 minutes. The PCR test a complex molecular test requiring extensive processing, with results still most commonly taking days. More and more you notice that PCR processing times have been increasing because of growing demand and staff shortage.
PCR test for travel - not all molecular tests are created equal
There are actually different types of molecular PCR tests. Molecular tests utilize nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) technology to multiply available genetic material first. This is why these tests are so accurate - the small amount of viral genetic material is first grown (amplified) then followed by detection process, which is a reason why a test can stay positive even after recovering from covid for 90-180 days (more about it here). Most common amplification technologies in covid testing include: Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) (accepted as the golden standard for travel PCR) and several lesser technologies utilizing isothermal amplification, which include:
Nicking endonuclease amplification reaction (NEAR)
Transcription mediated amplification (TMA)
Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP)
Helicase-dependent amplification (HDA)
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)
Strand displacement amplification (SDA)
According to Ontario Health, the province's network of labs is completing 90 percent of PCR tests within two days of collection and 69 per cent within one day of collection, but it warned turnaround times are likely to increase as the COVID-19 surge gets more intense.
PCR test for travel - which test to choose?
With PCR test for travel you may encounter non RT-PCR technologies as above that may at times be quicker or cheaper. Any of the above technologies are accepted by CDC as approved tests for USA entry by air. There are many countries though (such as Philippines, several Gulf countries and India) that will accept RT-PCR only and it is generally safer to opt for the golden standard covid test if you are not sure. Where to get more information about RT-PCR test for travel? Who to trust with all your covid 19 Windsor testing? Safe Travels Clinic, a private covid-19 assessment centre and travel clinic downtown Windsor is open 7 days a week will guide you through the complex testing rules if you are in doubt.
Covid test validity timelines are shortening
There is lots of tension around getting molecular tests back on time. At the beginning of covid testing it was okay to have a test done several days in advance, sometimes even 5 days in advance with the standard validity for most countries being 72 hours. Currently a lot of countries require a test to be completed in less than 48 hours, in case of Algeria it is less than 36 hours, in case of air entry to USA: 1 day. This often leaves travelers without a reliable option, leaving them hoping that their covid-19 test results would arrive earlier than expected. Even with best anticipation and planning a lot of passengers have ended up without the required test results before boarding and losing their ticket.
Processing time of different PCR tests - how fast can results be delivered?
The lengthy PCR processing timelines have been also a problem in Windsor, just like in the rest of Canada. Until recently only one laboratory (MLW) was processing PCR samples in Windsor with a guarantee of results arriving in 48 hours, recently decreased to 36 hours. In response to this in early January 2022 Safe Travels clinic has purchased a point of care Health Canada approved RT-PCR laboratory processing machinery. This enabled the shortening of RT-PCR results availability from 36 hours to 1 hour! So far Safe Travels is the only place to offer expedited processing EXPRESS RT-PCR in Windsor. While there may be some rapid NAAT test options using the thermal technology noone else can process a full golden standard rapid RT-PCR in one hour in Windsor-Essex area. Since the introduction of this test a large percentage of customers have been opting for it. If you are at the airport check-in counter and realize you need a last minute test for travel call Safe Travels covid Windsor clinic to get it done fast.
Safe Travels Clinic covid 19 Windsor location
We are located at 1428 Ouellette Avenue, suite 302 in Windsor, on third floor of the building. It may seem confusing but the same building hosts two covid-19 assessment centres - if you are looking for Safe Travels please do not stop by on the ground floor (MLW centre) but get upstairs to the third floor to unit 302 to see us! Why are we better? We guarantee an excellent customer service, solid travel clinic advice and fast covid Windsor area tests including last minute covid testing appointments, urgent PCR testing and urgent RT-PCR testing. Call Safe Travels Clinic for all your covid 19 Windsor testing needs. In addition to the two covid clinics under same address there is also some name confusion around us - our customers have called us travel safe clinic Windsor or safeway clinic Windsor before but we do not mind! Go Travel Safe Windsor! Basically its about the same thing - getting to your destination safely.