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Testing positive woes; any advice?

Last Thursday my husband and I went to a local pharmacy for our rapid antigen tests for our flight from Paris where we are at now back to DC. We tested postive for what I assume is a Covid variant and started our isolation period per current French guidelines.
Today at 5 days we were allowed to go out and test again. What mild symptoms we had last week seem gone but we are both still getting postive test results! We are fully vaxxed including a booster so 7 days total should complete our French isolation period but we obviously still need to get a negative test result to fly home. I am already planning the worst case scenario of reaching 10 days with no negative test and needing a letter of recovery from a doctor? (Additional complication for us is our 10 day is reached on Easter Sunday.) Anyone been in this situation recently that can provide any advice?

Posted by
140 posts

Adding my thanks for posting the link — I book marked it for our upcoming trip.

@Rosko4va — I am curious (mostly to cope with a normal level of anxiety over the return test being positive) if you had 1 or 2 boosters? We had our 2nd booster a week ago, and am telling myself that it will be ok. I’m not crazy anxious, we have insurance that will cover covid related delays and quarantine, and can afford to front those expenses, but that anxiety is still kind of sitting there in my mind.

Posted by
13 posts

Ecetera: we both only had one. I would say if you can get another booster now I don't think that would hurt ( no joke intended).

Fortunately we also made sure we had travel insurance that should cover some of these additional costs. However both of us work currently and for the first time in a long time we didn't have our work laptops with us because we wanted to have a "real vacation". Our phones and email are poor substitutes for what we do. I highly recommend that if persons work they plan for possible delays.

We dutifully masked in museums, shops, and transportation but I do not believe we were as cautious as we should have been in crowded areas like some smaller cafes can be where you have to take off masks to eat. We love the cafe culture in Paris and had fabulously leisurely meals. Additionally we had really bad and cold weather on the early days of our vacation so we spent more time inside than we normally would have done. I think outside dining or picnic might be a better idea at present.

As they say, hindsight is always 20/20. But I will certainly be happy to answer to pass along any discoveries as we try to get back home.

Posted by
6 posts

Unfortunately I can't offer any advice, as I'm planning a month-long trip to France in June and fear ending up in the same boat as you. Don't beat yourself up too much about not being sufficiently cautious. France is undergoing a significant spike in cases and the predominant Covid variant is very transmissible. I don't see how you could have protected yourself without ruining your vacation. I'm hoping the wave will pass by June and a second booster will afford me with more protection, but I'd still like to buy travel insurance to cover the additional expenses if i test positive. Might you share the name of the company you used? Also, curious if the airline accommodated you in any way when you had to postpone your flight home. Does one have to buy a new ticket at full price on short notice?

Posted by
1381 posts

Was making arrangements for your extended stay an easy process for you, either through a hotel or apartment?

Sorry to hear about your unexpected extended stay.

Posted by
13 posts

richard77: I bought travel insurance from Delta when I bought our tickets for what would be an Air France flight. This was in Aug 2021. I don't know how this compares to other plans out there now since I bought it many months ago. I always buy travel insurance for our trips outside of the US mostly for emergency medical coverage. I am assuming for this trip I will be utilizing travel delay and trip interruption coverage.
Our original flights back on Delta were non refundable and non changeable. However the Delta rep said he could give us a future flight voucher for the return flight amounts as part of the cancellation. I needed to rebook a new flight regardless and the best cost/time at this late of the game pointed to another carrier (United). I also paid extra to allow this new flight to be easily changed which I had to do yesterday after we failed on the 2nd rapid antigen test.
Overall I have been very happy with the response from both Delta and United as we work through our changing situation.

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13 posts

brushtim: we cannot speak how it works for apartment rental. This first time Paris trip was just me and my husband. We decided on a hotel since we just needed a place to crash that was convenient to transport and near nice restaurants etc. When we were informed we were postive last Thursday (and again yesterday that we were still postive) we went back to speak to the desk clerk whether we had to go elsewhere or if she could work something out. The hotel worked with us to extend the original stay and be kept in isolation in the same room. We had gotten a special rate locked in for our original stay months ago. They couldn't give us this highly discounted rate now but gave us a better rate than newly off the street. Since during the isolation time we can't leave except to take new covid tests; meals we order are room service in the morning and Uber Eats at night. I have no complaints on this hotel and when I am done and back home I will write my review in "Ricks hotels and restaurants" section.

Posted by
140 posts

@rosko4va — thanks for the additional info :-)

I have noticed that the weather in Europe was a bit cold recently — we have adjusted our own packing a bit after tracking the forecast for our trip. I admit to having this idea that late April and early May would be quite nice, but now realize it could be….or not. So just adding a few more pieces for layering. Dining in does seem to be the risky behavior (as it has since day one) and it’s really hard to avoid. We will try to enjoy outdoor dining whenever possible. I am hopeful that our second booster will help us evade infection while we are traveling. We have good masks and will use them as well.

Good to hear the airlines have been easy to work with — that is a huge potential stress factor

Posted by
13 posts

Etcetera I really hope your trip is non eventful! Paris was still worth the trip even with our hiccups.

I also did not expect the really cold weather we experienced on our trip pre-isolation. You have the right idea to consider layering.

Things that I was so glad I brought:
Vintage trench coat I had bought specifically for this trip off ebay. I used to own one of these myself many years ago. This coat has a wool liner you can zip in and out. Mostly I kept the liner in. I even wore this coat bike riding at Versailles.
My trusty cardigan sweater - which also didn't come off for several days.
Different kinds of socks.
Hybrid sneaker/hiking shoes which I broke in before coming to Paris for all the walking I expected to do. These are all black and waterproof.

Things I didn't think I needed but bought here almost immediately:
Hat (brown wool beret from a local outdoor market)
Gloves (found used from nearby thrift store)

Things I could have left at home:
Skirt, panty hose, thin dress shirt. Dress pants I brought were fine for nearby church service and were warmer.

@Rosk04va - I would be curious to hear how the travel insurance from Delta performed - we have the same insurance for a similar trip and also have the Delta insurance. Did they cover much of the additional costs?

Posted by
13 posts

Europe-traveller-2022 as soon as I finally get home I will be gathering up all my receipts and other info for claims. I can let you know how this played out.

Posted by
378 posts

Please tell me that you now know you don’t have to wait for a negative result before flying back to the US,

Posted by
188 posts

So sorry to hear that you tested positive but glad to hear about your hotel accommodations. I hope there are no more unpleasant surprises.

Hybrid sneaker/hiking shoes which I broke in before coming to Paris for all the walking I expected to do. These are all black and waterproof.

Would you please share the brand/model of your shoes? Thanks!

Posted by
2804 posts

I’m sorry you tested positive. Thank you for sharing all your experience. I am bookmarking your thread. My trip isn’t until September. There is a real possibility that anyone can test positive no matter how careful she/he is.
Please keep us updated as to how you’re doing.

Posted by
13 posts

Hello I have good news to report that with our 3rd rapid antigen test on Friday we finally tested negative and was able to move up our Monday flight to today and we are now home. It took us a total of 8 days from the 1st postive test for our original flight back to our first negative test. Now we have to see next how things go with our claims against our travel insurance.

Posted by
13 posts

For Carole: Teva Arrowood Trail Shoe. I got all black but I think they have other colors.

Posted by
13 posts

Go anywhere: if you are referring to the Certificate of Recovery from Covid that would have been the next step for us (using one of the telehealth providers on Jules link). We were coming up on the 10 days that needed to pass since the first positive test.

Posted by
8440 posts

Just a quick clarification. It is 5 days, not 10 that is required for certificate of recovery. I am quite glad you have made it home and appreciate you letting us know how things turned out.

Posted by
86 posts

Carol, CDC specifically states that after a positive test you can not travel for 10 full days without a negative test. So even if you get a certificate of recovery after 5 days, you still can't travel without a negative test earlier.

Posted by
14090 posts

Excellent news and I’m glad you are home!!

Posted by
8440 posts

@ Kevin. I agree that the CDC is sending mixed messages. It says that an asymptomatic person no longer needs to isolate or quarantine after 5 days from a positive Covid test and still recommends not traveling for 10 days. Note the word recommends vs. requires. This does lead to confusion.

Posted by
86 posts

@carol, that is incorrect.

Straight from the CDC:

You tested positive for COVID-19.
Do not travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms.

Posted by
1125 posts

A section of the CDC site regarding traveling if positive.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html#do-not-travel

Do NOT travel if…

  • You feel sick or have COVID-19 symptoms, even if you recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days or are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.

  • You tested positive for COVID-19.
    Do not travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms.

Posted by
17 posts

The whole “10 days after symptoms start or after positive test” means for us a default to 10 days 😬☹️ For us since we both have allergies and it’s been gloriously sunny/partly cloudy/ full of pollen for our stay in France except for one day at the start and one near the end when it rained.
We were on the Paris/heart of France tour which ended on a Thursday and tested pos on Sunday the 24 before our flight out. Would have loved a step by step guide instead of trawling the internet ! On a day when most offices are closed.

But the hotel, though taken a bit aback has been gracious and travel guard/aig concierge or assistance took our word that we were part of Rick Steves umbrella and got our info ball rolling. They called to check on us today 🙂 and so did RS. The time difference there slowed that down.

I’m guessing we will be doing the recovery letter and hoping the symptoms clear.

United booked us for the 11th day flight, the Petsitter is willing to continue so here we are…

Posted by
7 posts

This is so helpful in trying to be prepared when we go to Paris in August. I am hoping that some of the testing requirements will be lifted by then but just in case it's good to know how to handle a positive test. Thank you so much for sharing!

Posted by
1161 posts

We just got back, and to be honest, we were amazed we didn't test positive before leaving. The buses, metro, cafes, shops, etc. are all packed with people. Many are hacking and sneezing and not using their masks where required. It's easy to confuse COVID symptoms with allergies. And there is a lot of blooming going on in Paris right now! The RER from Versailles was packed like a sardine can, standing room only, with people literally on top of one another. Even though required on public transport, many just pulled their masks down and chose not to wear them. That was a bit frustrating considering you were trying to do the right thing. We were so grateful we tested negative and were able to come home without isolation. But we were pretty sure it would be a given we could test positive with the environment we were in. Travelers just need to be prepared for anything and know there is a general likelihood it could happen to you. We had a great time, just the same.