The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its COVID-19 testing guidance for travelers to include those taking trips within the United States.
The agency is now advising all travelers — including those who are vaccinated and current with their boosters — to consider getting tested no more than three days before a trip.
The CDC previously recommended testing before travel for people who were not vaccinated or up to date with their booster shots.
While some countries have suspended testing requirements to enter their borders, the CDC is urging all travelers to consider getting tested for current infection with a viral test within three days before departing the U.S. so as not to spread infection or introduce a possible new variant to another country. The U.S. still requires all travelers entering the U.S., including from U.S. territories, to show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before a flight's departure to the U.S.
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The CDC is now also recommending that people traveling within the U.S. get tested after their trip if it "involved situations with greater risk of exposure such as being in crowded places while not wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator."
The update comes as coronavirus cases are rising again in some areas of the country, with subtypes of the omicron variant now spreading across the U.S. and cases averaging about 91,000 a day compared to about 57,000 just two weeks ago, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. But that is a vast undercount because of the testing downturn and the fact tests are being taken at home and not reported to health departments.
Testing generally increases as infections rise and people develop symptoms — and it falls along with lulls in new cases.
The announcement coincides with an increase of free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests the federal government is making available to households nationwide. The White House announced Tuesday that U.S. households can request an additional eight free at-home tests.