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Testing positive before return trip, part 2

My husband and daughter are home. To catch anyone up, they tested positive on December 30th, as we were heading to our CDG hotel. They rented a contactless entry Airbnb in Paris. We contacted the US Embassy and they sent an email with information on English-speaking doctors and other useful information, like calling 15 for emergencies.

Because of the holidays, it took several days of phone calls to many offices to find a doctor who could help them. They also had some who hadn’t heard of the new 7 day isolation, and others who offered appointments far past their isolation. They finally found a doctor who would make a telemedicine visit with them on day 7. She released them with a recovery certificate for the following day and they were able to board a non-stop to home that day. The never needed a follow-up PCR test, btw. Nor did Air France want a second COVID test, just checked the dates on their positive test and the recovery certificate.

Their symptoms were very mild. They basically slept a lot, watched old movies, read, and bonded over their experience.

Those of us at home monitored for symptoms and laid low generally. I experienced some mild congestion (is it cedar pollen or COVID?) so I had a PCR test about 5 days after being home (very hard to find in my area! I wanted to re-test all of us sooner but truly could not find any in-person or store-bought tests in my Omicrom-hit area. I finally found a single mail-in test from a lab.) That test was also negative. So yes, cedar welcomed me home in it’s usual style. Ha!

It was so much easier to test in France than in the US. Our French friends (who also wound up with some positive, some negative) were able to test and re-test multiple times! Meanwhile at home we could only scrape 1 test up. Grrrr.

Posted by
246 posts

Happy to hear everyone is feeling better and they were able to get home safely. It also annoys me how hard it is to get tested in the US. I feel like thats half the reason people bring tests with them for their return flight when visiting Europe. They feel test will be difficult and/or expensive but I have always found it really simple to schedule test same day or the day before when I was in Europe. Meanwhile I was scrambling to find a test here in the US after New Years. Its so surprising that after almost two years we still have a testing shortage problem.

Posted by
10176 posts

FYI France no longer requires a PCR to confirm a positive antigen test. The labs are too inundated.

Neither France nor the US requires a negative test to determine recovery. Both go by absence of symptoms and length of time. Typically, labs in these two countries don't count the viral load present in a swab; it's either present or absent.

Other countries, such as Austria, do require a follow-up test, but it's assumed a viral load is present in a follow-up, so negative is assigned when the load is below a benchmark.

Posted by
13906 posts

Thank you Jill for letting us know everyone is now back home. I'm happy your husband and daughter were able to find a physician who could write them the recovery certificate.

I so agree on the testing here as well. I don't even care about paying for testing, I just want them available.

And yes, you can still get a winter cold as well as allergies...ugh.

Posted by
4385 posts

There was an explanation offered in the paper today. During last year as demand for home tests was winding down, companies closed production lines and laid off employees. Since the tests are only good for a certain amount of time, it wasn't possible to stockpile them. Nor was it thought that things would ever be as bad as last year. Ha ha ha!

Posted by
4058 posts

Glad to hear the happy ending to the process! I really appreciate you coming back calmly to report. As more people travel, positive results, even without mild symptoms, are bound to become more common. And people sharing how they have dealt with it in a responsible way is valuable!

Posted by
45 posts

Jill, I have two questions as I will be in France in spring. Since they had very mild symptoms did they consider re-testing before the 7 days were up (I assume a negative test is all you need to get home)? Is there any downside to doing this?

Also, did you wait for the doctors letter before trying to find a flight home?

I'm hoping Omicron is mostly gone by the time I leave.

Posted by
116 posts

@espo - Yes, they did test again but were still positive. They were going to try to go home if it was negative without the doctor’s note. I think that would have worked as they don’t check Pass Sanitaire’s at the airport.

I’m afraid I can’t answer the last question. We fly standby (husband is an airline pilot) so we don’t buy tickets the traditional way.

Posted by
116 posts

Oh! Ha!

The airlines only scanned our test looking for the words negatif. So I’m pretty sure that if you get a negative, that would be good enough.

However, my husband and daughter, after testing twice positive, had to finish out the process with a dr visit. They never were required to re-test as long as they had the certificate of recovery.

Posted by
116 posts

Thanks very much for updating us about your daughter and husband and I'm so glad to hear they're well and home now.
My husband and I will be spending a couple of weeks in Paris in March and I want to understand what a plan B would be in the event one or both of us tested positive when we're ready to depart for home in the US.
Were you able to freely determine where your husband and daughter would quarantine and was it difficult to find a contactless place. Did you disclose to the apartment owners/managers your family's health status? Was it difficult for them to have food delivered and/or how was that handled. It sounded like once they tested positive they were able to determine how they proceeded. Is that correct? Lastly, I understand there is a list of hotels where people can quarantine and have meals delivered. While the apartment they stayed in sounds more comfortable did they consider the quarantine hotel route?
Thanks in advance.

Posted by
116 posts

So one thing you think will happen once you test positive is that the government will immediately know and you will be informed of what to do. This isn’t true at all. After they got their results, we called the Embassy and they sent us an email with helpful tips. But that’s all they are. No hotels suggested. In fact, when I asked if the hotels would be required to accept them or would they be turned away, she didn’t know. We certainly weren’t given a list of isolation hotels. If anyone has a list, posting here would be helpful.

The day was turning into afternoon and we didn’t have much time to coordinate and we separated shortly after their test. My husband speaks the least French in the family (ummm…he knows 3-4 phrases, ha!) so that added a layer of difficulty. But I quickly arranged a contactless Airbnb for them. I did not tell the owner. Contactless was sufficient, as there was no daily cleaning and they would be clear of the virus before leaving.

I recommend Deliveroo for food. Auchan and Carrefour have grocery services.

About 3 days after testing, an email came from Covidom … it told them they needed to isolate for “a few days” (I’m not kidding…it gave no specific time) and the website offered help to you. He wasn’t really sure if it was for non-citizens. The info seemed for citizens…it had instructions for getting paid for work and that sort of thing. If my husband knew French he might have explored that more. I’m sure others might do better with it. Who knows…maybe it offered free food delivery! Ha! Anyway, like I said, you kind of expect an email like this to be immediate, but it took a few days to get there.

I would say my husband is pretty good with just doing what seems reasonable and didn’t look too much for official advice. If you feel like you’d like more direction, maybe spend some time calling hotels in advance or searching more travel forums.

Hopefully by March, Omicrom will have swept through. It’s spreading fast but I suspect it will be over just as quick.

Posted by
3688 posts

Here is a list of "quarantine" hotel published by the government. You will notice that all of the hotels are at airports I think the list was put together for those who are required to quarantine upon arrival but it could be helpful for a person looking for a place to stay after testing positive. At least one would know that these properties willingly accept those who are symptomatic.

Posted by
10176 posts

We need to distinguish quarantine, being separated from others though negative, such as some people arriving from certain countries, and isolation, which is separation due to a positive test.

We had Delta in mid November but were in our own apartment in SW France. We immediately had a phone call from our Sécurité sociale office. This was followed by an email letter stating isolation dates and a required follow up PCR. Isolation help was available for those who live in crowded apartments and can't be alone, plus other help. Help wasn't geared to tourists.

But one week later in November the services were slammed. Today, with the surge, isolation duration is changing, no follow up PCR required, too many positive cases for phone chats and letters. I wouldn't count on help.