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

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 12th, 2022 3:23 pm
Deal Guru
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Jan 9, 2011
13849 posts
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Vancouver
I'm having a heck of a time trying to find out which tests are saliva and which are nasal swab. Specifically at Walgreens. Are there any saliva tests available anywhere? Mrs Kiraly is afraid of the swab and doesn't even want to travel if it means having to get one.
Sr. Member
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Sep 23, 2013
606 posts
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Vancouver, BC
My wife and kids were scared too. But they were ok once they found out the nasal test is self-administered in your car. The process is less invasive than before - only about an inch in and 10-15 seconds in each nostril. Done.
Member
May 30, 2015
337 posts
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I wonder what happens if one gets positive results for their pcr test, would they be denied entrance back to Canada or just required to go home and quarantine?
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2016
3780 posts
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Local Radio this AM had a chap from Vermont who was promoting his deals website which included free testing in the US.
The segment went in one ear out the other as we're not planning on travelling soon.

Cheers, KH
Deal Guru
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Apr 26, 2004
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Mississauga
FriendlyUnit wrote: I wonder what happens if one gets positive results for their pcr test, would they be denied entrance back to Canada or just required to go home and quarantine?
A Canadian cannot be denied entry into Canada.
[OP]
Member
Mar 4, 2003
440 posts
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Newmarket
FriendlyUnit wrote: I wonder what happens if one gets positive results for their pcr test, would they be denied entrance back to Canada or just required to go home and quarantine?
Best guess is you'd probably be allowed in, but sent to quarantine.
Deal Addict
Apr 9, 2008
2885 posts
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Toronto
Any online/video conferencing based PCR test in US at a better price than switch health $140.
Member
Mar 12, 2015
266 posts
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North York, ON
Talamasca wrote: A Canadian cannot be denied entry into Canada.
If you are driving back into Canada, that's fine. However, if you are flying back to Canada, the airline will not allow you to even check-in upon seeing your positive test results.
Deal Fanatic
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May 9, 2009
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Montreal
Anyone planning on going down for Thanksgiving/Black Friday next week? We're going down from Thursday morning to Sunday evening and I'm wondering what turnaround time will be on the testing given the holiday. Think Walgreens/CVS will give results in 48 hours or less?
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Sep 23, 2013
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Vancouver, BC
psyko514 wrote: Anyone planning on going down for Thanksgiving/Black Friday next week? We're going down from Thursday morning to Sunday evening and I'm wondering what turnaround time will be on the testing given the holiday. Think Walgreens/CVS will give results in 48 hours or less?
Walgreens in California uses Aegis Labs for their test and Aegis has a running graph of their average Turnaround Time (TAT) in the link below. Perhaps all Walgreens in the US use Aesis. If so, it can give you some kind of guidance.

https://www.aegislabs.com/our-services/covid19-testing/
No fanboyism here. I only pledge allegiance to the hotness. - Flossy Carter
Sr. Member
Jun 13, 2018
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traxton wrote: If you are driving back into Canada, that's fine. However, if you are flying back to Canada, the airline will not allow you to even check-in upon seeing your positive test results.
was gonna post this. To be more accurate, if you can't produce a negative test result, that they can confirm, you won't be allowed on the plane even if you have an electronic boarding pass.
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Feb 4, 2015
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Canada, Eh!!
hartzfizzo wrote: Walgreens in California uses Aegis Labs for their test and Aegis has a running graph of their average Turnaround Time (TAT) in the link below. Perhaps all Walgreens in the US use Aesis. If so, it can give you some kind of guidance.

https://www.aegislabs.com/our-services/covid19-testing/
Think it depends on type of test.

Believe PCR processing done at lab off site and fast antigen and fast NAAT [Canada accepts] done on site so should be faster but based on our experience it can vary by more then 20 hours even if done within same hour.
2022: BOC raised 2 times and MCAP raised its prime next day.
2017 to 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime next day each time.
2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited to drop its prime to include all 3 drops.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 12, 2005
5053 posts
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Mississauga
City: Irving, TX
Name of lab/organization: Walgreens
Type of tests available: ID NOW NAAT
Cost: "FREE"
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): Got swabbed at 3:15pm. Got my results at 5:30pm.
Tips/Tricks: Did not have to provide ID. Just confirmed with name and DOB.

City: Irving, TX
Name of lab/organization: CVS
Type of tests available: PCR
Cost: "FREE"
Approximate processing time (stated vs. actual): Got swabbed at 2:30pm. Got my results at 5:00pm the next day.
Tips/Tricks: Went at 1:30pm and they said it was two early, so came back at 2:30. Seems like they don't do this test after at this location as it took a while to set everything up.
Last edited by GateGuardian on Nov 19th, 2021 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Dec 26, 2004
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In Niagara Falls, if you want to book with Walgreens the Rapid Test (ID NOW NAAT), you need to book four days in advance. Appointment times are all full.
Member
May 30, 2015
337 posts
313 upvotes
How long in advance can you book your Walgreens test?
I am going to NYC on Dec 3rd and returning on Dec 6th. I am driving, so thinking on booking with Walgreens in advance for NAAT (ID NOW) on Dec 6th morning, so I get my results by the time I get to the border after around 9hrs our so. We are a family of 4.
Thx
[OP]
Member
Mar 4, 2003
440 posts
117 upvotes
Newmarket
FriendlyUnit wrote: How long in advance can you book your Walgreens test?
I am going to NYC on Dec 3rd and returning on Dec 6th. I am driving, so thinking on booking with Walgreens in advance for NAAT (ID NOW) on Dec 6th morning, so I get my results by the time I get to the border after around 9hrs our so. We are a family of 4.
Thx
Don't bother with Walgreens in NYC - there aren't really any - you'd have to go to the Bronx. There are mobile vans literally everywhere doing free Covid testing. Check out LabQ - they list locations and hours. You'll have PCR results within 24 hours. Other labs have vans as well. NYC is super easy to get tested. No appointments necessary.

https://labq.com/covid-mobile-testing/
Member
May 30, 2015
337 posts
313 upvotes
revlis wrote: Don't bother with Walgreens in NYC - there aren't really any - you'd have to go to the Bronx. There are mobile vans literally everywhere doing free Covid testing. Check out LabQ - they list locations and hours. You'll have PCR results within 24 hours. Other labs have vans as well. NYC is super easy to get tested. No appointments necessary.

https://labq.com/covid-mobile-testing/
Thanks so you just walk up and get tested ? DO they ask for any insurance or IDs?
I see there are some locations open on Sunday.
[OP]
Member
Mar 4, 2003
440 posts
117 upvotes
Newmarket
FriendlyUnit wrote: Thanks so you just walk up and get tested ? DO they ask for any insurance or IDs?
I see there are some locations open on Sunday.
You can pre-register on LabQ website, and you'll get a qr code to scan at the van. Alternatively you can just walk up. Just have ID and use your hotel address or any US address. You'll also see CTS vans around times square. Just show ID and that's it. Nobody cares about insurance or if you're Canadian. It's super easy. I've done it several times in NYC already.

https://ctsmobiletesting.com/
Member
May 30, 2015
337 posts
313 upvotes
How about unvaccinated kids under 12 ? Do they have to quarantine and stay home with no school for 14 days after their re-entry back into Canada?
[OP]
Member
Mar 4, 2003
440 posts
117 upvotes
Newmarket
FriendlyUnit wrote: How about unvaccinated kids under 12 ? Do they have to quarantine and stay home with no school for 14 days after their re-entry back into Canada?
Cannot attend school for 14 days.

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