State of Travel During COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Colorado and across the US since mid-September are are now at an all-time high post-Thanksgiving travel. Christmas is two weeks away, and for many, this is the most important family holiday of the year–one that many Coloradoans don’t plan on missing. Our intent with this post is to provide as much medical and healthcare information as we can to help keep everyone safe, whether you choose to travel or stay home. colorado covid case count Source Data:  


Covid-19 causes a wide range of symptoms from no signs of the virus to severe illness requiring hospitalization. Presently, no way to predict who will become severely ill, who will only suffer mild symptoms, and who won’t show any symptoms at all. The best way to protect yourself and others from becoming infected with COVID-19 is to:
  • Social distance and minimize close contact with others
  • Wear a face mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Avoid large gatherings
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces


Per the orders of Governor Polis, as of December 8, Colorado has issued Dials of Guidance based on where you live, the work you do, and level of local outbreak. Please check the dial for your specific situation to make sure you are complying with the Governor’s travel orders and following state guidelines. There are also municipal guidelines within the state that are often stricter. Please check with your local city government’s websites for up-to-date guidelines.  


With Christmas & New Years approaching and travel planned both within Colorado and between states, the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread will increase, just as it did post-Thanksgiving. Staying home and not traveling or gathering is the safest way to protect yourself and vulnerable populations from COVID-19. To minimize the risk of COVID transmission with travel and gatherings, we recommend four steps for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals:
  • Self-Isolate 8 days before leaving to travel or before gathering at home. This means that you should wear a mask, avoid gathering in public places, and practice social distancing. Most people tend to travel between December 22nd and 24th. This means self-isolation needs to start on December 14-16.
  • Pre-travel testing. Get a COVID-19 test 2-3 days before traveling (more on this below). It is best to get a PCR test, which is conducted with a nasal swab. Rapid tests are faster but less accurate, generally missing around ~20% of positive patients. This means you should get tested by Friday, December 11th for Tuesday travel. Rocky Mountain Urgent Care offers both testing options at all of our locations.
  • If you test negative, travel wearing a face mask and wash/sanitize hands frequently.
  • At your destination, avoid large gatherings, close contact with others, wear a face mask, and wash your hands.
  • If you develop symptoms, self-isolate, get retested, and ask all guests to avoid contact with people outside their house for 14 days prior to gathering.
Not everyone who is intending to travel needs to be tested. If you are planning to visit and gather with people who may be at increased risk of vulnerability to the virus, it is a very good idea to get tested before you travel to know for sure if you are infected. ***Importantly, pay attention to COVID-19 trends. Here are some Colorado COVID-19 case data you can use to understand how the cases are trending ahead of your travel. While these data won’t tell you where cases are increasing within the state, they are a good guide for general trends. If you plan to travel out of state, or are having people from out of state visit Colorado, use this link to learn how cases are trending in other states.***  


Testing at Rocky Mountain Urgent Care is executed through Drive-Thru. You stay in your car, and a testing agent comes to your window. This is done for your safety and for ours. All of our RMUC locations offer PCR and rapid antigen testing for COVID-19. Both tests are performed by collecting a sample from the nose using a nasal swab. The PCR test is very accurate in detecting active COVID-19 infection. PCR test results generally take  between 48 and 72 hours to receive. The rapid (antigen) test is only recommended for patients who have symptoms, including fever/cough, as the rapid test misdiagnoses approximately 20% of positive patients. Rocky Mountain Testing Locations *It is required to have a telehealth visit with a provider, who will then schedule your drive-thru test. Tests are free with most insurance PCR Test – This is the best test for active infections. The test is completed with a nasal swab, and results are ready in 48-72 hrs. Tests are not run on Sunday; if tested on a Sunday, results will be available Weds/Thurs. Rapid Antigen Test – This is the best test for symptomatic patients (fever, cough, shortness of breath). The test is completed with a nasal swab, and results are ready in about an hour. This testing option misses about 20% of active infections. Antibody Test – This test indicates you may have been infected in the past and requires a blood draw. Results are available in 48-72 hours, but the test DOES NOT indicate active infection or immunities to COVID-19.

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