CDC Recommends Travelers Get Tested for COVID Before and After Flying

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As COVID-19 infections continue to rise across the Bay Area and the rest of the country, the CDC is once again recommending travelers get tested before and after they fly.

"There's a lot of reason to be cautious right now,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong of UCSF. “There's a lot of virus around in most states. We've probably increased in the country three to four times over the last month in terms of number of new infections."

The infectious disease expert said testing travelers is the one tool, in a growing tool kit, everyone should be using now to slow the spread.

Testing, masking, booster shots, and therapeutics like paxlovid are all available. For travelers at SFO Thursday, the testing recommendation is not a surprise.

"I didn't get a COVID test before I traveled, but it seems like much more readily accessible now, so I don't think that an unreasonable thing to ask people to do,” said Colorado resident Elizabeth Weiler.

Chicago resident Miranda Salvo agrees saying, "It's not an unreasonable thing to ask for, they just need to make it more accessible and cheaper."

The U.S. government just recently announced the availability of more free home COVID test kits.

They're available online and can be shipped to homes.

At SFO, onsite testing is still available.

Preflight COVID-19 testing peaked there at about 7,000 tests per day in January. They have since dropped to about 3,000 per day.

But they wonder if they will increase again now that there are increasing infections.

The summer travel season is already beginning to ramp up at SFO.

International carriers like Korean Air and Japan airlines have increased their frequency of flights as restrictions in parts of Asia continue to relax.

And a new service to Europe is also coming online. Still, travelers know to be prepared as COVID-19 disruptions will continue.    

"The main one who did the trip for us, she can't go because she got COVID,” said Betty Lawson, traveling to France.    

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