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Free / Cheap / Quick - Covid PCR / NAAT test in U.S. cities for Canadians returning to Canada

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 26th, 2022 7:45 pm
Member
Aug 27, 2014
473 posts
226 upvotes
Just came back from a road trip to the states. Got tested Monday at the Walgreens in Ogdensburg, got the results 45 minutes later. Got it printed at the hotel for convenience. Today when we came back, only had to show passports and covid tests, answer a few questions (custom guy was nice, it always feels like we're welcome back; we've never had problems with US custom agents but they don't seem very welcoming) and we were good to go. My wife was selected for a random covid test to do at home, was done quickly this pm.
Deal Addict
Sep 17, 2011
3689 posts
533 upvotes
Charles wrote: None there.

1) if in point bob You have to go to WA state by ferry from the point and then return

2) get tested in vancouver

3) drive to seattle to get a rapid pcr test and drive back.

basically the point is screwed like always. why anyone buys property there blows my mind. the hassle is so not worth it.

good luck.
I read somewhere that they were testing on Sunday and Wednesday in point Roberts
Newbie
Apr 17, 2021
4 posts
4 upvotes
City:
Date: August 10, 2021
Lab: Walgreens – Canby, OR
Type: NAAT Test
Time taken: 9:30 - booked for 10 but they did it early no problem.
Cost: Free
ID/documents: nil
Time: 10 min for test, results in 40 min

City:
Date: November 10, 2021
Lab: Walgreens – Nashville, NC
Type: NAAT Test
Time taken: 11am - booked for 10:45 but no problem being late. Just need a booking in the system
Cost: Free
ID/documents: nil
Time: 5 min for test, results in 70 min

In august it was a real pain to get a testing slot, but both now and August, rural seems to have much better availability than urban. In NC and SC you can book 4 days ahead which is much better - seems to vary by state.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2015
7539 posts
3659 upvotes
Canada, Eh!!
wild_warren wrote: If you book the NAAT instead of PCR, your results will come back within 2-3 hours or less!
Depends on location.

Group of us did within an hour and results were all over the place... 12 hours to 36 hours if memory correct... this was for fast NAAT.

CVS on the other hand that does PCR has consistently been around same time although not within few hours.
July 13, 2017 to October 25, 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime rate next day each time.

2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited and waited to drop its prime rate to include all 3 drops.
Deal Addict
Dec 26, 2004
1101 posts
33 upvotes
Can anyone here share their experience at a Walgreens for a day trip in Niagara Falls or Buffalo?
Member
Aug 19, 2015
234 posts
201 upvotes
Ajax, ON
Just a reminder to everyone, unless something changed

CVS is only PCR/NAAT aka PCR in reality = 72 Hours
Walgreens is strictly NAAT = Should be fast.
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2003
1757 posts
798 upvotes
YVR
fendtman wrote: City:
Date: August 10, 2021
Lab: Walgreens – Canby, OR
Type: NAAT Test
Time taken: 9:30 - booked for 10 but they did it early no problem.
Cost: Free
ID/documents: nil
Time: 10 min for test, results in 40 min

City:
Date: November 10, 2021
Lab: Walgreens – Nashville, NC
Type: NAAT Test
Time taken: 11am - booked for 10:45 but no problem being late. Just need a booking in the system
Cost: Free
ID/documents: nil
Time: 5 min for test, results in 70 min

In august it was a real pain to get a testing slot, but both now and August, rural seems to have much better availability than urban. In NC and SC you can book 4 days ahead which is much better - seems to vary by state.

whats the point of a NAAT test when the cad border won't accept it.
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.
Member
Nov 21, 2005
213 posts
43 upvotes
Charles wrote: whats the point of a NAAT test when the cad border won't accept it.
NAAT is 'nucleic acid amplification test', which is a molecular test accepted at the Cdn border. Not to be confused with an antigen test, which is not accepted at the Cdn border (but is accepted for air travel to the US)
Deal Guru
User avatar
Apr 26, 2004
12354 posts
2526 upvotes
Mississauga
Charles wrote: whats the point of a NAAT test when the cad border won't accept it.
NAAT tests are accepted by Canada.
Member
Feb 18, 2009
410 posts
315 upvotes
Charles wrote: whats the point of a NAAT test when the cad border won't accept it.
https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/trave ... nto-canada

When you scroll down:

Types of pre-entry test
Rapid antigen tests aren't accepted.

Accepted types of molecular tests
PCR - Polymerase chain reaction
Nucleic acid test (NAT) or Nucleic acid amplification test (NAATs)
Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2003
1757 posts
798 upvotes
YVR
thx

so is the right one...it's not called NAAT on the Walgreens website..is it "id now"?

Image
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2015
7539 posts
3659 upvotes
Canada, Eh!!
Charles wrote: thx

so is the right one...it's not called NAAT on the Walgreens website..is it "id now"?

Image
Either of the first two tests [PCR, ID NOW] are acceptable to enter Canada.

Do not presume that will get within 24 hours.

Our experience for group of us was that Walgreens took longer then CVS even though WAG processes on site and CVS sends to lab.

This is very likely region specific so best to see how fast others are getting results in area you will be.
July 13, 2017 to October 25, 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime rate next day each time.

2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited and waited to drop its prime rate to include all 3 drops.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Sep 23, 2013
592 posts
664 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Anaheim, California

Walgreens: 10 min drive from Disneyland
PCR test taken Nov 10. Results delivered at 26hr mark

CVS: 8 min drive from Disneyland
PCR test taken Nov 10. Results delivered at 29hr mark

No NAAT options at any Walgreens or CVS in the area. Only PCR. Which is why i took two tests. NGL, waiting for results was stressful.
Member
Oct 27, 2012
378 posts
327 upvotes
Shwa
I booked ID Now at Walgreens in Dunkirk NY. Got my results emailed to me an hour after the test. Total time to take the test at the drive thru is like 5 mins. Heading back to [...] Canada today.
Last edited by Mars2012 on Nov 14th, 2021 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: removed flamebait
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 9, 2012
4031 posts
660 upvotes
Toronto
We may be going to Miami in December. Hoping by then the testing requirement change. In the interim though want to plan to get tested before we come.

Anyone know where I can get free tests in Miami?
Newbie
Nov 13, 2021
7 posts
12 upvotes
Left for a trip from Vancouver to Seattle, Friday morning and returned Saturday night - only booked a hotel for 1 night with the expectancy that one result was coming back the next day in the afternoon. I was originally going to do the UW test only and had that scheduled a few days in advance, but the Curative test just happen to fit within the itinerary and that was booked 20 minutes before the appointment.

City: Seattle, WA
Name of lab/organization: UW Medicine - University District location
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): stated was 1-2 days / actual was ~16 and 22 hours - tests were taken Friday 11:30am. 1st result of 2 returned at Saturday 3am and 2nd result returned at 9am
Link: https://www.uwmedicine.org/coronavirus/testing

City: Seattle, WA
Name of lab/organization: Curative - Northgate Community Centre location
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): stated was 1-2 days "upon arrival to their labs" / actual was 37 hours from sample taken time - tests taken at 10am on Friday, the sample was transported to their lab in Los Angeles, arrived at 4pm Saturday with results released at 11pm on Saturday.
Link: https://curative.com/

Both testing sites had no problems with me being a Canadian and showing my BC driver license/NEXUS/Passport. The address I put on the forms if asked was the address of the hotel I stayed at, but they really didn't care. The CBSA officer accepted the UW test result without a problem and was surprised when they asked if it was a paid test or not.
Member
Nov 15, 2008
390 posts
127 upvotes
Vancouver
wt1909 wrote: Left for a trip from Vancouver to Seattle, Friday morning and returned Saturday night - only booked a hotel for 1 night with the expectancy that one result was coming back the next day in the afternoon. I was originally going to do the UW test only and had that scheduled a few days in advance, but the Curative test just happen to fit within the itinerary and that was booked 20 minutes before the appointment.

City: Seattle, WA
Name of lab/organization: UW Medicine - University District location
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): stated was 1-2 days / actual was ~16 and 22 hours - tests were taken Friday 11:30am. 1st result of 2 returned at Saturday 3am and 2nd result returned at 9am
Link: https://www.uwmedicine.org/coronavirus/testing

City: Seattle, WA
Name of lab/organization: Curative - Northgate Community Centre location
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: Free
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): stated was 1-2 days "upon arrival to their labs" / actual was 37 hours from sample taken time - tests taken at 10am on Friday, the sample was transported to their lab in Los Angeles, arrived at 4pm Saturday with results released at 11pm on Saturday.
Link: https://curative.com/

Both testing sites had no problems with me being a Canadian and showing my BC driver license/NEXUS/Passport. The address I put on the forms if asked was the address of the hotel I stayed at, but they really didn't care. The CBSA officer accepted the UW test result without a problem and was surprised when they asked if it was a paid test or not.
Am I understanding correctly? You had 2 tests done at UW? If so, may I ask why? Is that common?
Jr. Member
Oct 30, 2006
114 posts
67 upvotes
Which of the two facilities did you find easier to deal with? Are any of them open on the weekends or only on weekdays?
Newbie
Nov 13, 2021
7 posts
12 upvotes
seaker wrote: Am I understanding correctly? You had 2 tests done at UW? If so, may I ask why? Is that common?
I traveled with a partner and we got tested at the same time but with test results at different times so I thought I’d share the turnaround for each. The second one was the first in a new batch of tests as I saw the worker seal up a box of around 50 test tubes before he served me.

Just one test per person.
Member
Aug 19, 2015
234 posts
201 upvotes
Ajax, ON
cessnabmw wrote: We may be going to Miami in December. Hoping by then the testing requirement change. In the interim though want to plan to get tested before we come.

Anyone know where I can get free tests in Miami?
Step 1: For now research all Walgreen and CVS locations. Careful, as not ALL of them do COVID tests.
Step 2: Google Labs that do COVID test and try to find the cheapest. In Orlando I found a test for 120$ US guaranteed 72 hours for travelling.

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